Academic Partners

David Ma

Dr. David Ma, Co-Principal Investigator

University of Guelph

[email protected]

Dr. Ma is a professor in the department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences (HHNS) and Director of the Guelph Family Health Study (GFHS) at the University of Guelph. His research has produced nutrition papers on a wide range of topics from cells and experimental models of cancer to family nutrition. As the Director of the GFHS, a longitudinal cohort study of families with young children, he leads a team of investigators and trainees to better understand determinants of health. The goal is to develop tools and approaches to support healthy behaviours for the prevention of chronic diseases. Beyond the lab, he is a member of the City of Guelph-Smart Cities team, which was awarded an Infrastructure Canada grant to develop, Our Food Future, Canada’s first circular economy. As a member he participates in the nutritious food workstream. Building on the work of Our Food Future, he is a co-lead of the SMART Training Platform, the first CIHR-NSERC-SSHRC shared tri-council training grant. This is a 6-year endeavour connecting 10 academic institutions across Canada and nearly 50 co-investigators and collaborators to build capacity in implementation science to advance healthy cities research and train the next generation of leaders.

Laurette Dube

Dr. Laurette Dubé, Co-Principal Investigator

McGill University

[email protected]

Dr. Dubé is a Full Professor of Marketing, James McGill Chair of Consumer and Lifestyle Psychology and Marketing, and Chair and Scientific Director of the McGill Centre for the Convergence of Health and Economics (MCCHE). Originally trained as a nutritionist, with graduate degrees in finances (MBA), marketing (MPS), and behavioural decision making/consumer psychology (PhD), Dr. Dubé’s lifetime research interest bears on the study of affects, behavioural economics, and neurobehavioural  processes underlying consumption, lifestyle, and health behaviour. Her translational research examines how such knowledge can inspire more effective behavioural change and ecosystem transformation. Through MCCHE, Dr. Dubé  has pioneered convergence and systems approaches to research and innovation in agri-food, health and economics.

Dr. Miyoung Suh, Co-Principal Investigator

University of Manitoba

[email protected]

Dr. Suh is a professor at the University of Manitoba and Principal Investigator in the Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders and Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine at the St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre, Winnipeg. Dr. Suh is a trained Clinical Dietitian and a nutrition lead of the Canada Israel International Fetal Alcohol Consortium, a global leadership initiative focused on reducing the impact of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder through perinatal nutrition strategies. She also serves as a scientific health research liaison for the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) in Manitoba through the Beatrice Wilson Health Centre. In OCN, a Smart Vertical Farm was established to improve access to affordable and nutritious food including functional vegetables to prevent or reduce the kinds of chronic disease encountered in Northern Manitoba, with a particular focus on diabetes.

Dr. Alayne M Adams 

McGill University

[email protected]

Dr. Adams is an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine.  Alayne is an applied social scientist with expertise in global urban health and nutrition, health systems research and the social determinants of health in Africa and South Asia. Broadly speaking, her research investigates the complex realities that give rise to health inequities and innovates evidence-based solutions. Her current work on urban health systems examines a range of demand and supply-side challenges undermining the goal of universal health coverage in rapidly urbanizing low and middle-income countries, with a particular focus on Bangladesh. On the demand side, her research considers the health-seeking behavior of the urban poor and disadvantaged, and the features of community mobilization necessary to spark responsive urban service delivery. With respect to supply side challenges, she has pioneered research that employs GIS and data visualization techniques to improve the coverage and accountability of urban health services. Of particular interest is the urban private-for-profit sector. She has led qualitative and mixed methods studies examining the strategies and motivations of urban private sector providers and contributed to the design of implementation research testing participatory models of quality improvement in for-profit clinic settings. In Bangladesh, she is also involved in research and policy advocacy work on adolescent nutrition and food security in urban informal settlements. 

Dr. Sara Ahmed

McGill University

[email protected]

Dr. Ahmed is an associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy. Dr. Ahmed conducts research aimed at improving health outcomes for individuals with chronic disease. Her research includes studies that address the challenges of using patient reported outcomes (e.g. health-related quality of life, self-efficacy) in chronic disease management programs, and the use of advanced psychometric approaches for improving the precision and efficiency of outcome evaluations. Additional research develops and evaluates the impact of chronic disease computer-enabled self-management interventions integrated into electronic personal health records (e.g. web-based asthma and COPD self-management applications). Further studies use knowledge exchange and transfer related to best practices for chronic disease management.

Dr. Anna-Liisa Aunio 

Dawson College

[email protected]

Dr. Aunio is a researcher in the department of Sociology. Her research over the past several years focuses on understanding the sociological drivers of environmental issues, particularly in relation to climate change and food systems.  She is currently the Principal Investigator for the Food Justice and Sustainability project at Dawson, which focuses on mapping the food system for Montreal’s 33 boroughs, building and carrying out community food organizations needs and assets assessments for five neighborhoods, and hosting dialogues to support collaborative research and action to guide food policy in Montreal.

Kyle Bobiwash

Dr. Kyle Bobiwash

University of Manitoba

[email protected]

Dr. Bobiwash is an assistant professor and Indigenous scholar in the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Science. His lab focuses on understanding the ecology of beneficial insects in agro-ecosystems and the greater landscape. Their goal is to better characterize the landscape and resources utilized by insects to understand how land management might affect insect community composition and ecosystem service delivery.

Pascal Brissette

Dr. Pascal Brissette

McGill University

[email protected]

Dr. Brissette is a professor in the department of French Language Literature, Translation and Creation. His research focuses on collective discourses and narratives, Montreal literature, voice poetry and poetry events. In 2012, he founded and then headed the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Montreal Studies (CRIEM). Since 2019, he has headed the Social Data Analysis Center, a project carried out in partnership with the Urban Innovation Laboratory of the City of Montreal, Centraide of Greater Montreal, the Regional Directorate of Public Health and the Diversity Department and the social inclusion of the City of Montreal. He is currently setting up a collective discourse and narrative analysis laboratory (LADIREC) for the analysis of large media and literary corpora.

Steven Clarke

Steven Clarke

University of Guelph

[email protected]

Steven Clarke, BCSLA, CSLA, ASLA, is an assistant professor in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development (SEDRD) at the University of Guelph, and a licensed landscape architect in British Columbia, Canada. He has a passion for design education and likes bringing people together through public engagement to build community and resolution. Through his award- winning work, Steven has focused on the development of regenerative and resilient communities through collaborative research, design, and action. He served as the Director of the UNLV Downtown Design Center in Las Vegas for five years and is a graduate of the Environmental Design and Landscape Architecture programs at the University of Manitoba and holds a Bachelor of Environmental Design and a Master of Landscape Architecture.

Maria Corradini

Dr. Maria Corradinni

University of Guelph

[email protected]

Dr. Corradinni is an associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Arrell Food Institute Chair in Food Quality. Maria’s research focuses on the development of novel techniques to study foods, their biophysical behavior, and stability. She couples these techniques with predictive tools and computational methods. The end goal of her research is to provide accurate estimations of food attributes in real time to increase food safety through the development of early warning steps, improve food accessibility and sustainability through a decrease in food waste and optimization of food distribution, and enhance nutrition through the consumption of foods at their peak quality.

Yves Couturier

Yves Couturier

Universite de Sherbrooke

[email protected]

Yves Couturier is a professor in the Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences FLSH School of Social Work. With a background in social work, Yves’ areas of research include analysis of professional practices and their determinants, construction of the intervention, interdisciplinary, sociology of work, continuity practices, organizational analysis and integrated care. He also examines the organization of health and social services.

Tirtha Dhar

Dr. Tirtha Dhar

University of Guelph

[email protected]

Dr. Dhar is an associate professor (Marketing) at the Department of Marketing and Consumer Studies, College of Business and Economics at the University of Guelph. He is a marketing modeler with interest in both empirical and theoretical modelling with big data. He uses tools from economics of industrial organization, econometrics and statistics in my research to address marketing strategies (such as: pricing and advertising decisions to maximize long-term profits) and public policy related questions. In terms of industry expertise, he has worked extensively in food, movie, and internet marketing.

Audrey Durand

Dr. Audrey Durand

Laval University

[email protected]

Dr. Durand (Canada CIFAR AI Chair) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at Université Laval (Québec City, Canada). She is an associate academic member of Mila – Quebec AI Institute and she is the leader of the Methods of Artificial Intelligence and Data Processing Axis of the Institute for Intelligence and Data at U. Laval. She is also member of the Union Neurosciences et Intelligence Artificielle Québec (UNIQUE), the CERVO Brain Research Center, the Centre de Recherche en Donnée Massives (CRDM), and the Centre de Recherche en Vision et Intelligence Machine (CeRVIM). She is known for her work in reinforcement learning and bandit algorithms, both theoretical and applied, in addition to machine learning (in general) deployed on health-related data. She has developed new optimal algorithms with convergence guarantees in a variety of bandit. She has used such algorithms for optimizing treatment allocations in mouse models with cancer and for tuning super-resolution imaging parameters, helping researchers in neuroscience acquiring images of neurons to improve the understanding of the human brain. She is also involved in various collaboration to leverage machine learning methods for conducting platform trials, predicting evolution of health indicators on patients undergoing chemotherapy, finding associations between polypharmacy and health outcomes, and optimizing the growth of plants.

Dr. Dalia El Khoury

University of Guelph

[email protected]

Dr. El Khoury is an assistant professor in the department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition (FRAN). Her research interests have primarily focused on the role of functional ingredients/foods in the regulation of appetite, food intake, glycemia and metabolism in healthy individuals and individuals with nutrition-related disorders including overweight/obesity, hyperinsulinemia and the metabolic syndrome. Dr. El Khoury has also worked in the fields of sports nutrition and infant nutrition through experiences in both academia and private industry. At the University of Guelph, Dr. El Khoury is working on two lines of research: 1) exploring novel biomarkers for the metabolic syndrome, and their modulation by functional foods and/or physical activity, both in pediatric and adult populations; and 2) investigating the prevalence and psychosocial determinants of dietary supplement use among university athlete and non-athlete students, gym exercisers and other populations at risk, and designing nutrition education programs to improve knowledge, attitude and awareness on dietary supplements in these populations. It is worth noting that Dr. El Khoury is a registered dietitian in Canada.

Evan Fraser

Dr. Evan Fraser

University of Guelph

[email protected]oguelph.ca

Dr. Evan Fraser is the Director of Arrell Food Institute and a professor of Geography. Evan started thinking about agriculture and food systems while spending summers working on his grandfather’s farm in Niagara, Ontario. There, he learned that his grandmother’s success as a stockbroker was paying more of his wages than the money brought in by the u-pick strawberries and sweet corn. As such, he decided it was easier to write and talk about farming than to try to make a living selling fruits and vegetables so passed on the family farm, opting instead for grad school.

He works to bring large and diverse teams together in order to develop strategies that balance our need to produce and distribute accessible, healthy and nutritious food while stewarding the ecosystems on which we all depend for life. He believes that it is only by building bridges between the corporate sector, government, civil society and academics that we will be able to create the food systems fit for the challenges of the 21st century.

Jess Haines

Dr. Jess Haines

University of Guelph

[email protected]

Dr. Haines is an associate professor in the department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition (FRAN). Her primary research interest is in the prevention of weight-related disorders among children and adolescents. Within this concentration, her current research is focused on community and family-based interventions aimed at promoting healthful behaviours among preschool children.

She has developed a program called Parents and Tots Together, which is a family-based intervention that embeds strategies to improve children’s weight-related behaviours within an existing general skills parenting program. Dr. Haines is the Principal Investigator of a current study, funded by the Danone Institute, to test the effectiveness of Parents and Tots Together among families recruited through Ontario Early Years Centres. She is also the Associate Director of the Guelph Family Health Study, a family-based cohort study designed to identify early life risk factors of obesity and chronic disease and to test family-based strategies to support healthful behaviours early in life. Additionally, she is a Co-Investigator of an NIH-funded study to examine how the general family environment influences adolescent weight and weight-related behaviours among participants in the Growing Up Today Study (GUTS). GUTS is a prospective cohort of over 16,000 adolescents who are the offspring of participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II.

Ernan Haruvy

Dr. Ernan Haruvy

McGill University

[email protected]

Ernan Haruvy is a professor of marketing at McGill University, Desautels Faculty of Management. Much of his teaching in the past 20 years has revolved around predictive analytics, consumer analytics, and business intelligence. He has been involved in numerous corporate-student engagements, including in works with Texas Instruments, Conagra, Domino’s Pizza, and others.

He works on applying behavioural models, using experimental methods, data analysis, and economic theory, to improve the design of markets, including applications in auctions, supply-chain bargaining, procurement, electronic commerce, sponsored search, and software markets.

Sharon Kirkpatrick

Dr. Sharon Kirkpatrick

University of Waterloo

[email protected]

Dr. Kirkpatrick is an associate professor in the School of Public Health Sciences. She is also a registered dietitian with training in community and public health nutrition. Her research focuses on the intersections between nutrition, human and planetary health, equity, and policy, using a systems thinking lens.

Much of her work is aimed at improving methodologies for measuring dietary patterns to foster robust evidence on how these patterns influence human and planetary health and how to promote healthy and sustainable eating practices. Sharon’s research also examines nutrition and dietary inequities, and she has longstanding interests in the determinants and implications of household food insecurity.

Finally, her work explores the utility of systems thinking and methods to better understand the array of factors that shape major nutrition and public health challenges and the potential intended and unintended consequences of policies and other interventions to address these challenges.

Mary L'Abbé

Dr. Mary L’Abbé

University of Toronto

[email protected]

Dr. L’Abbé is a professor (formerly Earle W. McHenry professor and Chair) at the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Toronto, where she leads a research group on Food and Nutrition Policy for Population Health. Dr. L’Abbé is an expert in public health nutrition, nutrition policy, and food and nutrition regulations, with a long career in in mineral nutrition research. Her research examines the nutritional quality of the Canadian food supply, food intake patterns, and consumer research on food choices related to obesity and chronic disease. Dr. L’Abbé was recently named a Member of the Order of Canada (Dec. 2018) for her contributions to the health of Canadians as a champion of nutrition.

Yu Ma

Dr. Yu Ma

McGill University

[email protected]

Dr. Yu Ma is an associate professor of Marketing and Bensadoun Faculty Scholar at McGill University. His research interest includes food marketing, retailing and big data analytics. Using consumer purchase data and advanced econometric and statistical models, he studies how consumers react to various marketing incentives. He also examines broader marketing issues such as the influence of macro environment on the retail sector and the impact of food marketing on population health.

Leia Minaker

Dr. Leia Minaker

University of Waterloo

[email protected]

Dr. Minaker is an assistant professor in the School of Planning. She holds a PhD in Public Health, and her research focuses on gender equality in healthy cities, with a particular focus on food systems, nutrition, and mental health. She conducts both qualitative and quantitative research at the intersection of public health and planning and is most interested in studying interventions to promote health and equity in cities.

 Jennifer Monk

Dr. Jennifer Monk

University of Guelph

[email protected]

Dr. Jennifer Monk is an assistant professor and early career investigator at the University of Guelph in the Human Health and Nutritional Sciences (HHNS) department. Dr. Monk’s applied human research centres on identifying new ways to reduce food insecurity and enhance access to healthy foods in vulnerable urban populations, such as immigrant populations and the elderly. As part of her community engaged research within the City of Guelph, she has collaborated with The SEED Community Food Markets to demonstrate the sustainability and effectiveness of the novel sliding-scale payment option that increases access to healthy fruits and vegetables and reduce food insecurity. Additionally, Dr. Monk is interested in identifying the unique challenges experienced by vulnerable food insecure immigrant populations and the barriers they encounter to access culturally familiar foods while living in a new food environment. In this connection, she has worked with community partners to develop pictorial communication approaches to assist non-English speaking food insecure individuals to help identify culturally familiar food options, enhance their access to these foods and build food literacy.

Jian-Yun Nie

Dr. Jian-Yun Nie

Université de Montreal

[email protected]

Dr. Jian-Yun Nie is a professor in the department of Computer Science and Operations Research. His research focuses on information retrieval and on web search engines.

The goal is the improvement of the state of the art and the current practices in this field, through the development of novel information retrieval models, and by exploiting new data sources. These sources, such as user logs, Wikipedia entries and thesauri are put to use to expand, rewrite and otherwise reorganize user queries. His research interests also lie in taking into account the user’s various intentions in different application contexts.

To achieve this, he develops statistical methods to address the specific needs of information retrieval. His research also include multilingual aspects, i.e. successfully finding relevant documents in a language different from that of the query. The methods developed can be applied in various domains: medical information retrieval, e-commerce, opinion analysis on the web, etc.

Nitika Pai

Dr. Nitika Pai

McGill University

[email protected]

Dr Nitika Pant Pai (Nikki Pai), MD., MPH., Ph.D., is an associate professor at McGill University’s Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Epidemiology and a Physician Scientist at the MUHC Research Institute. Her Global Implementation Research program on “Point of Care diagnostics for HIV and associated co-infections (Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, HPV, bacterial STIs) is based in Canada, India and South Africa. Her research informs domestic and global policy on point-of-care diagnostics. She develops and incorporates innovation, implementation science, and artificial intelligence to generate solutions that plug health service delivery gaps. She strives to generate clinical, public health and social impact. Her innovations are being implemented nationally & internationally

Catherine Paquet

Dr. Catherine Paquet

Laval University

[email protected]

Dr. Catherine Paquet is an Associate Professor at the Department of Marketing of Université Laval. Dr. Paquet’s research builds on her multidisciplinary training in physiology (BSc, McGill), consumer psychology and advanced statistics (PhD, McGill), and socio-spatial epidemiology (Post-doctorate, Université de Montréal, University of South Australia). Her primary research interest lies in the influence of environmental factors on chronic diseases, well-being and health-related behaviours. She is particularly interested in the community and organisational factors that shape health behaviours such as dietary behaviours and how such factors can be changed to promote well-being across the lifespan. Her research also investigates genetic and psychological markers associated with greater responsiveness to environmental cues.

Kate Parizeau

Dr. Kate Parizeau

University of Guelph

[email protected]

Dr. Parizeau is an associate professor in the department of Geography, Environment and Geomatics. Her research uses waste management practices as a lens through which to interrogate complex systems of social organization and human exchanges with the natural world. This focus has allowed her to make contributions to the fields of waste studies, international development studies, and urban studies. Her research interests centre on the following interrelated themes: informality, urban inequality, and social difference, value and waste and waste management systems and planning, environmental health and urban waste management

Dawn Parker

Dr. Dawn Parker

University of Waterloo

[email protected]

Dr. Parker is a professor in the School of Planning, Faculty of Environment. She has been actively involved in the development of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation, serving previously as Associate Director and Director, and most recently leading efforts to develop a Canadian Network for Complex Systems. Her research focuses on the development of fine-scale models that link the drivers of land-use change and their socioeconomic and ecological impacts, with completed and ongoing projects on organic agriculture in California’s Central Valley, timber harvest and carbon sequestration in eastern deciduous forests in West Virginia, U.S.A., and the effects of HIV/AIDS on smallholder agricultural households in Uganda. Her most recent work focuses on residential landscapes, examining interactions between land markets, landscaping, and carbon sequestration in ex-urban landscapes, and modelling the co-evolution of urban transit networks and residential neighbourhoods via land and housing markets. Her areas of technical expertise include agent-based modelling, land-use and property market modelling, and environmental and resource economics.

 Louise Potvin

Dr. Louise Potvin

Université de Montreal

[email protected]

Dr. Potvin is a researcher in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and had been internationally recognized for her expertise in the evaluation of community health programs. She conducts research aimed at informing decision-making and public health interventions with the aim of reducing health inequalities. Her work has helped change research practices in Canada and around the world including many collaboration with Europe and Brazil.

Wei Qi

Dr. Wei Qi

McGill University

[email protected]

Wei Qi is an associate professor in Operations Management at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. His research interests include: Smart-city analytics and operations, energy & transportation systems operations management (e.g. energy storage, electric vehicles, renewables) and new techno-economic models (e.g. urban-scale systems integration, sharing economy in retail logistics, shared autonomous electric vehicles). Wei is also a strategic advisor of the China Energy Group, Energy Analysis and Environmental Impacts Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Natalie Riediger

Dr. Natalie Riediger

University of Manitoba

[email protected]

Dr. Riediger is an assistant professor, Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences. Her research focuses on food and health equity for marginalized populations, particularly Indigenous populations, using quantitative-, qualitative-, and mixed-methods. Generally, the objectives of her research program are to: document and analyze food and nutrition-related health inequities; examine the impact of current and proposed food and nutrition-related policies; inform the development of food, nutrition, and social policies to address nutrition-related health inequities; engage community in the research process to facilitate the implementation of evidence-based solutions.

Sandra Schillo

Dr. Sandra Schillo

University of Ottawa

[email protected]

Dr. Schillo is an associate professor in the department of _. Sandra focuses her research on improved methodologies relating to the measurement of innovation, entrepreneurship and their impact.

Dr. Schillo has research and professional experience in the areas of science and technology, research and innovation management and entrepreneurship. Sandra’s areas of strategic impact include; Globalization, Governance and Sustainability and Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Strategic Management. Her professional work experience includes work completed for Industry Canada and many science-based departments and agencies of the Canadian federal government.

Daniel Sellen

Dr. Daniel Sellen

University of Toronto

[email protected]

Dr. Sellen is the director of the Joannah & Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition at the University of Toronto. He is also a professor in the Departments of Anthropology and Nutritional Sciences, and in the Dalla School of Public Health. Professor Sellen is interested in impact pathway analysis of innovations to improve infant, child, maternal and household nutrition security globally. Additionally, he looks to identify best approaches to protect, promote and support of healthiest breastfeeding, complementary feeding, diet diversity and gender-based practices to address maternal and child needs. Randomized trials of community-based mHealth and integrated nutrition-sensitive and nutrition-specific interventions as well as contemporary health implications of the evolution of human ecology and nutritional needs and adaptations are another area of Dr. Sellen’s expertise.

Raja Sengupta

Dr. Raja Sengupta

McGill University

[email protected]

Dr. Sengupta is an associate professor in the Department of Geography & McGill School of Environment. His research projects follow three distinct but complementary paths that fall under the broad umbrella of GIScience: agent-based models, spatial tools to measure anthropogenic impacts, and methodological improvements to existing GIScience tools. Within GIScience, the use of agent-based models (ABMs) for modelling complex biological and social systems is a new and emerging topic of enquiry. Further, the use of GIS and modeling to understand the impact of anthropogenic disturbance on ecosystems, and thereby direct policy, is an emerging area of enquiry. Within this broad area of research, his goal has been to develop GIS-based analysis and tools that spatially link disturbances with outcomes at the landscape level, with a view to informing policy-making. Finally, a third research trajectory focuses on improving existing methods, or creating new algorithms, to solve problems encountered with GIS in its current temporally static, two dimensional, database centric-form.

 Carla Taylor

Dr. Carla Taylor

University of Manitoba

[email protected]

Dr. Taylor is a professor in the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences. She investigates the effects of various dietary components on obesity, insulin resistance and vascular health using animal models and human studies, specifically:Omega-3 fatty acids; Conjugated linoleic acid; Plant-based bio-actives in crops such as buckwheat and pulses. The effects of zinc on antioxidant and immune defense is another research interest.

Mike von Massow

Dr. Mike von Massow

University of Guelph

[email protected]

Dr. von Massow is an associate professor in the department of Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics (FARE). Mike is interested in how people think about food with recent work focusing on labeling, novel food products, animal welfare and antibiotic use. He is also active in the interdisciplinary Guelph Food Waste Research Project with Dr Kate Parizeau. Mike’s research also considers the structure and performance of food value chains as they evolve in response to changing consumer preferences and other factors.

Peter Zahradka

Dr. Peter Zahradka

University of Manitoba

[email protected]

Dr. Zahradka is a professor in the departments of Physiology and Pathophysiology & Food and Human Nutritional Sciences. His lab has a long-standing interest in the cellular and molecular processes that control the functional properties of blood vessels. Their research in this area is going in two distinct directions. First, they are attempting to understand the relationship between vascular disease and metabolism. The lab believes that a better understanding of how metabolic dysfunction negatively affects blood vessels will lead to better treatments for preventing deaths caused by these conditions.

Second, the laboratory is investigating whether nutritional intervention with novel supplements or food products can be used in the treatment or prevention of cardiovascular disease. In this case, atherosclerosis is the main research focus. Specifically, identifying and characterizing new bioactive molecules from plants, and employing both animal and human studies to examine efficacy and safety of these molecules is the approach being taken. The availability of some unique equipment that allows the isolation of individual bioactives from the very complex mixtures present in plant extracts provides a huge advantage in performing this type of analysis. Proficiency in cell culture and analytical chemistry also helps in determining which biological factors capable of influencing blood vessel function are influenced by specific bioactive ingredients in our food, especially in the context of atherosclerosis, obesity and diabetes. Given the importance of diet to these diseases, nutritional intervention is an important component of the lab’s research efforts.

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