When I finished my undergraduate degree, I was offered an exciting opportunity to spend 6 months at the Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland. And I found out that Nestlé does far more than just make good chocolate! Nestlé introduced me to the field of nutrigenomics. This area of research examines how the foods we eat interact with our genes to affect our health. Working in this fascinating area allowed me to integrate various scientific disciplines into my research, ranging from nutritional biochemistry and molecular biology to genomics and bioinformatics. My initial 6 month position with Nestlé ended up becoming a 6 year stay, during which I completed my PhD in association with the University of Lausanne. After finishing my PhD, I moved to The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, USA for a short post-doctoral position and then to the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) in Paris, France for a second post-doctoral position. During my post-doctoral research I explored diet-gene interactions in the context of obesity. This proved both timely and highly relevant given the high prevalence of obesity. Obesity is a complex disease that is highly influenced by lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. Each of these factors influences our genes and, ultimately, our health. In 2009, I joined the Department of Human Health & Nutritional Sciences to establish a nutrigenomics research program to study how dietary fats influence lipid metabolism in key metabolic tissues such as adipose and liver, and how this influences cardiometabolic outcomes.
***Students interested to join my lab should send a copy of their CV and academic transcript directly to me, at firstname.lastname@example.org
B.Sc. Queens University (Canada) Ph.D. University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
My nutrigenomics research program investigates the mechanisms that regulate lipid metabolism in the body, with a major focus on diet-gene interactions in adipose (fat) tissue, skeletal muscle, and liver. Dysfunctional lipid metabolism is a key feature of common chronic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as an underlying cause of inflammation and insulin resistance. My team aims to advance understanding of the genetic and nutritional regulation of fatty acid desaturases (key enzymes involved in endogenous fatty acid synthesis), and their association with cardiometabolic outcomes. Ongoing research in my lab uses cell and rodent models to explore how altered desaturase activity and dietary fatty acids influence cellular processes such as adipogenesis, lipogenesis, and lipolysis. Notably, our research has important implications for humans, since we and others have shown that humans with variations in desaturase genes show many of the same metabolic outcomes as our model systems in which the activity of these desaturases are inhibited.
For a complete list of publications, please click here.
MSc and PhD Positions are currently available to study omega-3 fatty acid regulation of the adipose tissue-liver axis in healthy and obese states. Using genetic mouse models and cell culture models, we investigate how different omega-3 fatty acids regulate lipid metabolism pathways in adipose tissue and liver. Ongoing projects in the lab are exploring: 1) how omega-3 fatty acids influence adipocyte differentiation and lipid uptake according to nutritional state, 2) the role of delta-6 desaturase on adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and liver fatty acid metabolism and insulin signaling, and 3) nutrient regulation of fatty acid desaturase genes and related proteins. Candidates in strong academic standing will be given priority. Prior research experience is an asset but not a requirement.
***Students interested to join my lab should send a statement of interest, a copy of their CV and their academic transcript directly to me, at email@example.com
Support for my research program has come from NSERC, CIHR, OMAFRA, CFI, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Canola Council of Canada, and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.