CNS is Celebrating 10 years!


Contemporary methods to assess food intake and diet quality: From research to application 

Mavra Ahmed, PhD - University of Toronto

Mavra Ahmed is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Joannah and Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition, University of Toronto. She completed her MSc at St. Michael’s Hospital where her area of focus was on the role of thiamin in heart failure patients. Mavra obtained her PhD at University of Toronto, specializing in characterization of dietary intakes of Canadian Armed Forces and evaluation of novel technologies for dietary assessments. During her doctoral studies, she completed a CIHR Fellowship in Public Health Policy. Her current postdoctoral research focuses on assessing the impact of nutrient profiling models (algorithms to assess healthfulness ratings of foods and beverages) on improving: a) the nutritional value of foods available to Canadians and, 2) the dietary intakes and health outcomes of Canadians using the Canadian Community Health Survey as well as investigating the nutritional quality of school food programs. Her research interests include investigating the impact of a smartphone app, FoodFlip©, on enabling consumers to make healthier food choices. 

Didier Brassard, M.Sc, RD, PhD Candidate - Université Laval

I am a registered dietitian since 2014 and completed a master’s degree in nutrition in 2017 at Université Laval. During my master’s degree, I studied the impact of dairy fats and other dietary fat consumption on cholesterol metabolism and cardiometabolic risk factors. I am currently a PhD nutrition candidate at Université Laval. Dietary assessment instruments and dietary scores, nutritional epidemiology and statistical modelling of dietary intakes are my fields of interest. In particular, I am interested in new instruments that have the potential to increase precision of population-level assessment of dietary intakes, e.g., Web-based instruments; the overall objective is to improve cardiometabolic health through diet. I am also interested in biomarkers of dietary intakes obtained using metabolomics approach to predict actual dietary intakes more accurately.

Stéphanie Chevalier, PhD, McGill University

Stéphanie Chevalier is an Associate Professor and the Graduate Program Director of the School of Human Nutrition, McGill University, Associate Member in the Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics and Medical Scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre.  A registered dietitian, she earned her Ph.D. degree in nutrition, from the University of Montreal and then completed postdoctoral studies in nutrition and metabolism at the former McGill Nutrition and Food Science Centre.

Her research program was launched with support from the Fonds de la recherche du Québec-Santé Chercheur Boursier Career Awards Junior 1 and 2, and is funded by the CIHR, Dairy Farmers of Canada and Canadian Foundation for Dietetics Research.  Her main area of expertise is protein metabolism and the role of dietary protein, amino acids and other nutrients in muscle and function loss observed in aging and metabolic disorders such as cancer and type 2 diabetes.  She has expended her interests to the links between nutrition, muscle health and cognition.  

She is a member of the Canadian Nutrition Society-Education Committee, the Canadian Frailty Network- Clinical Practice Guidelines Working Group, the Québec Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Aging (NuAge)-Steering Committee and the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging – Lifestyle Working Group.

Jess Haines, PhD, MHSc, RD - University of Guelph

Jess Haines’s research aims to bridge epidemiologic research on the determinants of health behaviours with the design, implementation, and evaluation of interventions to support children’s healthy eating and growth. Dr. Haines is the Co-Director of the Guelph Family Health Study, a longitudinal family-based cohort, and the Director of the Parent-Child Feeding Laboratory, which focuses on identifying how parent-child feeding interactions influence children’s eating behaviours. 


Sharon Kirkpatrick, PhD, MHSc - University of Waterloo

Dr. Sharon Kirkpatrick leads a public health nutrition research program at the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Her research primarily focuses on understanding dietary patterns in populations and influences on these patterns, using a systems thinking lens to consider the array of factors at play. Much of her work is aimed at improving methodologies for measuring dietary patterns to foster a robust evidence base on the influence of diet on health and the impact of interventions on diet. She has contributed to the development of freely-available and highly-accessed resources for researchers, including an online dietary assessment primer and a web-based dietary assessment tool. Dr. Kirkpatrick also has longstanding interests in food security and equity. Dr. Kirkpatrick holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Master of Health Science in Community Nutrition from the University of Toronto.

Benoît Lamarche, PhD - Université Laval

Dr. Benoît Lamarche is Full Professor at the School of Nutrition and Chair of Nutrition at Laval University. He is also the Scientific Director of the FRQS-funded Research Center on Nutrition, Health and Society (NUTRISS). He has published more than 370 peer-reviewed papers on physiological, clinical, epidemiological and public health issues related to food and health. He has contributed the training of more than 60 MSc, PhD students and postdocs. He has received numerous awards, including awards from the Société Québécoise de lipidologie, nutrition et métabolisme (Prix des Fondateurs, 2013) and the Canadian Nutrition Society (Centrum New Investigator Award, 2011 and the Khursheed Jeejeebhoy Award, 2020). He has co-written two books with the acclaimed Chef Jean Soulard on the topics of nutrition, sport and health. Benoît Lamarche is an Olympian (1984, 1988) in long track speed skating.

Yvonne Lamers, PhD - University of British Columbia

Dr. Yvonne Lamers is an Associate Professor in the Food Nutrition and Health Program at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. She is also Investigator at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Women's Health Research Institute in Vancouver. Dr Lamers held the Canada Research Chair in Human Nutrition and Vitamin Metabolism from 2010-2020. Dr Lamers’ research focuses on micronutrient adequacy, with a special interest in B-vitamins, with the overarching goal to identify biological mechanisms linking nutrition, health, and disease, and to evaluate optimal micronutrient status to maintain biochemical functions. Her current research projects focus on maternal-fetal micronutrient dependency, periconceptional vitamin adequacy, and the role of maternal and infant nutrition on growth and development. Her research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund, and the Dairy Farmers of Canada. She is leading two international team grants under the European Joint Programming Initiative – A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life (JPI HDHL). Dr. Lamers established the UBC Nutritional Biomarker Laboratory that is set up with externally validated methods for blood and tissue biomarker assessment and has participated in various inter-laboratory comparison studies. One of her program’s goals is to identify sensitive nutritional biomarkers for early diagnosis of micronutrient inadequacies. As evidenced by her recent work, her goal is to contribute new knowledge that can be applied in clinical practice and public health for the benefit of individuals and vulnerable population groups.

Nadia Moran-Garcia, PhD - University of British Columbia

Dr. Nadia Moran-Garcia holds a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position at The University of British Columbia (UBC) in the research team of Dr Yvonne Lamers since April 2018. Dr Moran-Garcia is the UBC lead scientist on the transnational and multidisciplinary project DERiVE for the DEvelopment of Riboflavin biomarkers to relate dietary sources with status, gene-nutrient Interactions and Validated health Effects in adult cohorts, in collaboration with Professor Mary Ward (lead-PI of DERiVE) from Ulster University, Northern Ireland/UK, and Professor Albert Flynn from University College Cork, Ireland, and all co-investigators and members of the Ulster, Cork, and UBC teams.

Dr. Moran-Garcia completed her MSc and PhD in Molecular Biomedicine in the Center of Investigation and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (CINVESTAV-IPN) and held research positions at the National Institute of Nutrition “Salvador Zubiran” (INNSZ) in Mexico City. With an academic background in chemistry, pharmaceutics and biology, her research expertise is in the analysis and evaluation of nutritional biomarkers, the development and characterization of infectious disease models, and the study of the effect of maternal and infant dietary interventions on child development.

Anne-Julie Tessier, RD, PhD Candidate - McGill University

Anne-Julie is a dietitian and PhD candidate in Human Nutrition at McGill University in Dr. Stéphanie Chevalier's lab. Her research focuses on nutritional epidemiology, more specifically the interplay between nutrition, muscle mass, physical performance and cognitive function in aging. Her training is supported by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec en Santé (FRQ-S) and the McGill University PhD Graduate Excellence Fellowship. 

Her interest is also toward dietary assessment. She is the cofounder of Keenoa, an intelligent food diary for dietitians and researchers. Anne-Julie and her team were awarded federal grants, among others, to pursue their mission of developing cutting-edge technologies to elevate dietetics practice and research.

David Wishart, PhD - University of Alberta

Dr. David Wishart (PhD Yale, 1991) is a Professor in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Computing Science at the University of Alberta. He also holds adjunct appointments with the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences and with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.  He has been with the University of Alberta since 1995. Dr. Wishart’s research interests are very wide ranging, covering nanotechnology, molecular biology, analytical chemistry, nutritional science and bioinformatics. For the past 12 years, Dr. Wishart has led the “Human Metabolome Project” (HMP), a multi-university, multi-investigator project that is cataloguing all of the known metabolites in human tissues and biofluids. Using advanced methods in NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, multi-dimensional chromatography and machine learning Dr. Wishart and his colleagues have identified or found evidence for more than 110,000 metabolites in the human body. This information has been archived on a freely accessible web-resource called the Human Metabolome Database (HMDB). More recently, Dr. Wishart’s efforts have focused on characterizing the content of various foods and food products, including milk and dairy products, eggs, meats, herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables. This information is now available in a resource called FooDB. Over the course of his career Dr. Wishart has published more than 380 research papers in high profile journals on a wide variety of subject areas. He currently directs The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC), Canada’s national metabolomics laboratory.  

© 2021 CNS-SCN - Canadian Nutrition Society