Inarie Jacobs, scientist and nylon creator

Inarie is a student in breast cancer, who is passionate about better nutrition

Why is cancer research so important to you?

We constantly see changes in dietary intake, physical activity and other lifestyle habits that are associated with cancer risk. Furthermore, 30 to 50 per cent of all cancers are preventable through these lifestyle changes. It's therefore important to study how these lifestyle changes contribute to cancer or protect against cancer to prevent people dying from preventable cancers.

Do you wear a lab coat? And if no, why not?

No, I don't wear a lab coat! The research I’m currently involved in doesn't require working in labs as our study is an observational study where we look at dietary data collected from quantified food frequency questionnaires. 

What's the best part of your job?

I'm still a student and so I'm not sure whether I can use the word “job”. However, I love learning and working with amazing scientists in my field from various parts of the world. I also love doing my own statistics and comparing our results with other populations. 

When you were a child what did you want to be when you grew up? 

Since I was a kid, I have loved the great outdoors, animals and hiking activities. I always thought that I’d be a game ranger when I was older as it was a good combination of all my favorite activities. Luckily, I became more passionate about nutrition over the years and am very happy to be working in this field now. 

Did you ever set fire to anything in science lessons at school?

I don't recall starting a fire during any science classes in school! However, we once had to make nylon as part of a chemical practical experiment during my first year as an undergrad. Me and my lab partner just couldn’t get the nylon string to form. After several attempts we still couldn’t manage to form the string. At the same time, we saw that someone had thrown their perfectly formed nylon string away in the dustbin. So we “borrowed” that string from the dustbin and got 90% for our chemical practical that afternoon.

Thank you from Inarie

Inarie Jacobs, WCRF Academy FellowThrough your donations, World Cancer Research Fund funded my Academy Fellowship in 2019, enabling me to attend a course in the Netherlands to develop my expertise in nutrition and cancer. I'm a registered dietitian working in Bambisana Hospital, South Africa and you can read more about my work on nutrition and breast cancer in South Africa on the World Cancer Research Fund International website, where you can also find out about our Academy Fellows.