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29 October 2019

5 Minutes with Tyler Maher

Tyler Maher recently joined King’s as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department for Nutritional Sciences. His research interests include currently undertaking research examining commercially relevant lipids and cardiovascular health. In his spare time, he competes in powerlifting, or exploring London. We took 5 minutes with Tyler to learn more about his career, research interests and life outside of work.

Tyler Maher

Briefly, tell me about your background and career up to this point at King’s? 
I grew up in Sheffield (other than a 3-year stint in Crete) to an Irish family where education was very important. I slowly made my way south, doing my BSc in Sheffield, MSc at Loughborough, and finally PhD at Oxford Brookes University, in the Oxford Brookes Centre for Nutrition and Health. I have fascinated with research since the second year of my BSc, where I organised to work in the nutrition laboratories at Loughborough for a 2-month placement, and this solidified my decision to strive to complete a PhD and commit to a career in research. My PhD focused on appetite regulation in response to lipid ingestion, examining the physiological and behavioural responses to different ‘functional’ lipids. The studies in my PhD primarily focused on the postprandial response, which set me up perfectly for my first postdoc, which is why I am here at King’s!

What research are you currently working on?
I am working within the Diet and Cardiometabolic Health Research Group and am working on a project investigating commercially interesterified fats and cardiovascular health. This will consist of an intervention where we provide these fats in muffins and a spread which is to be consumed daily, and a subgroup of participants will be invited to complete an acute testing day to examine the immediate response to these fats, both before and after the intervention.

What is a typical day like for you?
Usually, wake up, nail a coffee and some form of carbohydrates, go and train for around 90 minutes before getting to the office, then work on getting the project up and running. Meetings, writing, applications and the like, interspersed with more coffee and multiple (constant) meals, then home. More food, reading and a bit of TV, then get ready to do it all again!

Where is your research area heading in the next 5 years?
There is still much to learn about interesterified fats and health, and fat and health generally. I hope to continue working in these areas in order to broaden our understanding of the link between fat intake and health. As with many areas of science, machine learning and ‘big data’ are becoming more and more prevalent, and I think this will be key in the development of our methodologies in human research.

What would you like members of our school to most know about you and your research area?
Having only just joined King’s I am still meeting new people daily! I want people in the school to know I am eager to learn from them and maybe even teach them new things; we can all learn from each other. I want to be an active member of the school and establish collaborations wherever possible.

What is your favourite part about your current role?
I have only been here for around a month, so the excitement is still very real. I enjoy the atmosphere in the department, discussions with researchers investigating different topics, and being involved in some of those projects! I really enjoy being involved in a group producing meaningful work: IE fats are currently used in the manufacturing industry, and thus it is important to quantify their effects.

What do you do with your time outside of academia?
I compete in powerlifting, so a lot of my free time is dedicated to training. Having only just moved to London I am enjoying investigating this great city (and a few recommended spots with particularly good beers).

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self? 
Never doubt yourself, and make sure you focus on your goals.

Who do you look up to (inside or outside of academia)?
There are so many people who have influenced me along the way that I cannot begin to start listing them all. My closest friends who have “been there” (forgive the cliché) throughout the years, do need special mention, as without them I may have crumbled at one point or another!

Any leaving remarks that you would like other members of our school to know about you?
Say hi! I really am quite friendly, the frown when I’m working is pure concentration!

Favourite Movie
: All LOTR films, but especially Return of the King.
Favourite Book: All Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan, finished by Brandon Sanderson (although Sanderson’s own series is shaping out to surpass WoT!)
Favourite TV Show: Currently Mindhunter, but that changes as they come and go.
Favourite Scientist: John Blundell.