Anna Wawer

Dr Anna Wawer

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences


Anna obtained her BSc and MSc degrees in Food Technology and Human Nutrition from Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Poland. Shortly after she started her professional career in the British food industry where she monitored production processes and coordinated logistics.
After winning a competitive PhD scholarship co-funded by the industry Anna decided to return to academia. She took up research in the area of iron deficiency anaemia and nutrition.
Anna’s expertise is in:

Lab based research: In vitro experiments with extensive use of Caco-2 cell line, a model of small intestine enterocyte, which coupled with a simulated digestion phase is a valuable tool in assessing iron availability from foods. Anna was also investigating the kinetics of iron uptake into the cell with the use of live cell imaging. She was responsible for designing her experiments as well as adopting and evaluating laboratory protocols and technical procedures for the purpose of her research.

Clinical research: The project created and tested a novel delivery structure for iron, in which water soluble ferrous gluconate was housed within alginate gel microbeads and then coated in biopolymers and an impermeable wax or lipid layer. Anna was the chief investigator of a randomised, single blinded, cross-over human study in which iron absorption was measured from serum iron appearance after a test meal. The aim of the study was to measure the effect of alginate gel microbeads on iron absorption from ferrous gluconate and assess the potential modulating effect of calcium on iron absorption with and without alginate matrix.

Anna also took part in following collaborative projects:
• Iron and zinc status studied in Malawian women (part of www.espa.ac.uk)
• The contribution of diet and genotype to iron status in women: using a classical twin study design (part of www.twinsuk.ac.uk )
• Investigations of iron status in the elderly (part of www.nu-age.eu)
For more details on the above projects please refer to the list of publications.

Immediately after her studies Anna relocated to Adelaide to join her partner and became a mother. She recently returned to research. First as an independent researcher and nutritionist, and now as a Research Officer at the Basil Hetzel Institute. She is working on the project investigating zinc deficiency within the vascular endothelium of cardiovascular disease (CVD) patients, the potential clinical benefit of zinc therapy in CVD and the need to adjust Zn dietary guidelines within Australia for CVD patients.


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