Dr. Amanda Wright

Associate Professor
Phone number: 
ext. 54697 (Office)
HHNS Annex 283
ANNU 312

As an undergrad, I discovered that being a food scientist was a great way to apply basic scientific principles to everyday life. By its very nature, food science is an interdisciplinary field; it deals with the chemistry, physics and microbiology of foods and food systems. This interdisciplinary nature appealed to me right away- it was a bonus that studying food science also meant I had lots of interesting facts to share with family and friends over dinner! My graduate and post-doctoral research was largely concerned with understanding and modifying the physical functionality and structure of lipids in foods such as butter and chocolate. However, more and more I began to realize that what I was studying also had implications for nutrition and human health. I became excited about understanding how the structure and physical properties of foods influence their nutritional value and, ultimately, human health. This motivation continues to fuel my current investigations at the food-nutrition interface.

B.Sc. - Food Science, University of Guelph
Ph.D. - Food Chemistry, University of Guelph

The Canadian functional food and nutraceutical (FFN) industry continues to see significant growth. However, there are conflicting reports as to the efficacy of many products that are for sale. My research aims to support the development of evidence-based food strategies through the application of multi-level research tools. 

My labs NSERC-funded research relates to dietary lipids, stemming from expertise developed during my PhD and PDF training. Our research examines how the structure and physical properties of food materials determine the health outcomes associated with bioactive compounds. For example, lipophilic nutraceuticals tend to be poorly released from foods or supplements and inefficiently solubilized during digestion, resulting in limited potential for absorption. Our team is investigating how food ingredients and structures impact the physiochemical mechanisms involved, including through the application of in vitro models of digestion. My students and I also lead human studies on diverse topics such as  the effects of  dietary fibres on glycemia, development of methods for investigating satiety potential of functional foods, and testing value-added agricultural products like a rosmarinic acid-enriched spearmint variety for symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

As part of my faculty appointment, I serve as Director of the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit (HNRU). This is a research and educational unit within the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences. Part of our mandate is to conduct human clinical trials of natural health products for collaborative and contract partners. We also maintain close associations with other food and nutrition related groups on campus and regionally. The HNRU recognizes the potential that interdisciplinary food-nutrition partnerships have to significantly improve human health. We are committed to training uniquely and highly qualified personnel through advancing high quality food and natural health product human research.

Tulk HM, Blonski DC, Murch LA, Duncan AM, Wright AJ . Daily consumption of synbiotic yogurt decreases energy intake but does not improve gastrointestinal transit time: a double-blind, randomized, crossover study in healthy adults. Nutr J. 2013; 12(1): 87.

Au MM, Goff HD, Kisch JA, Coulson A, Wright AJ . Effects of soy-soluble fiber and flaxseed gum on the glycemic and insulinemic responses to glucose solutions and dairy products in healthy adult males. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013; 32(2):98-110.

Nik AM, Langmaid, S, Wright AJ. Nonionic surfactant and interfacial structure impact crystallinity and stability of â-carotene loaded lipid nanodispersions. J Agric Food Chem. 2012; 60(16):4126-35.

Nik AM, Langmaid S, Wright AJ. Digestibility and â-carotene release from lipid nanodispersions depend on dispersed phase crystallinity and interfacial properties. Food Funct. 2012; 3(3):234-45.

Cryne CN, Deschambault BR, Veenstra JM, Benali M, Marcotte M, Boye J, Tosh S, Farnworth ER, Wright AJ, Duncan AM. Effect of pulse consumption on cardiovascular disease risk and glycemic control in healthy males. Food Res Int. 2012; 48:131-9.

Nik AM, Corredig M, Wright AJ. Release of lipophilic molecules during in vitro digestion of soy protein stabilized emulsions. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2011; 55(S2): S278-89.

Trujillo CC, Wright AJ. Properties and stability of solid lipid particle dispersions based on canola stearin and poloxamer 188. J Am Oil Chem Soc. 2010; 87(7):715-30.

Veenstra JM, Duncan AM, Cryne CN, Deschambault BR, Boyce J, Benali M, Marcotte M, Tosh SM, Farnworth TE, Wright AJ. Effect of pulse consumption on perceived flatulence and gastrointestinal function in healthy males. Food Res Int. 2009; 43:553-9.

Robinson DM, Martin N, Robinson LE, Ahmadi L, Marangoni, AG, Wright AJ. Influence of interesterification of a stearic acid-rich spreadable fat on acute metabolic risk factors. Lipids. 2009; 44;17-26. 

Hughes NE, Marangoni AG, Wright AJ , Rogers MA, Rush JE. Potential Food Applications of Edible Oil Organogels. Trends Food Sci. & Technol. 2009; 20(10):470-80.

  • NUTR*4330 Applied Nutritional & Nutraceutical Sciences II
  • HHNS*6320 Advances in Nutritional Research (Coordinator)
  • HHNS*6910 Basic Research Techniques and Processes (Coordinator)
  • HHNS*6920 Applied Research Techniques and Processes (Coordinator)
  • HHNS*6930 Research Project (Coordinator)
Name Role
T. Gamel PhD Student
X. Lin PhD Student
S. Thilakarathna PhD Student
A. Cuncins MSc Student
K. Faughnan MSc Student
H. Neizer MSc Student