Dr. Kerry Ritchie

A photograph of Dr. Kerry Ritchie.
Associate Professor
Phone number: 
ext. 53028
HHNS Annex 265

I began my education at the University of Guelph as a biochemistry major, convinced I was going to become the next great forensic investigator or high school science teacher.  However, both of these ideas changed after taking Fundamentals of Nutrition as an elective in my second year.  From there I immediately switched my program of study to Nutrition, and became very interested in the ability of lifestyle factors to influence human health, in particular obesity.  I had grown up in a family of healthy obese individuals and was very curious as to why some obese people remain metabolically healthy while many others develop obesity related metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes.  This curiosity prompted me to complete a 4th year research project in the lab of Dr David Dyck where I investigated potential mechanisms of insulin resistance in rodent skeletal muscle.  I continued on to Graduate studies with Dr Dyck where I completed my PhD studying skeletal muscle fatty acid metabolism and the ability of high fat feeding and adipose derived factors (adiponectin) to influence insulin sensitivity.  

Over the course of my graduate work, I was afforded the opportunity to teach multiple undergraduate courses and participate in curriculum planning and development of several new education initiatives.  It was here that I determined my true passion was in fact for teaching. I have been heavily involved with teaching in the Kinesiology program at Guelph-Humber and the re-design and implementation of first year biology ‘Biological Concepts of Health’ at the University of Guelph.

Through all of these experiences I have come to a point where I am able to mesh my desire to teach with my research curiosity and continued interest in lifestyle factors and health.  My current position is teaching intensive, and my research interests pertain to both the scholarship of teaching and learning and the role of modifiable lifestyle factors on student academic success and wellbeing.

BSc - University of Guelph
PhD - University of Guelph

Health and Performance of Emerging Adults in the Early Transition to University

Many factors influence a student’s sense of wellbeing and academic success, including lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, sleep), social engagement (living environment, social networks) and study strategies (time management, stress relief). The goal of my research is to better understand the student experience in order to develop programs and strategies to optimize student performance both inside and out of the classroom. In particular, I am interested in the dynamic transition period from high school to early University, where individuals experience an increased responsibility for their lifestyle choices. 

Examples of Active Projects

  • Lifestyle Behaviours of the Emerging Adult: A survey of 1st year science students.
  • Influence of Residence Living Learning Communities on Academic Success and Student Engagement.

Impact of Teaching Strategies on Student Learning and Engagement in Large Classes

Many pedagogical approaches have been identified to enhance student learning, including community engaged learning, writing intensive courses and one-on-one research opportunities. However, these high impact practices are typically reserved for small class sizes. From a teaching perspective, my goal is to modify and scale these best practices to suit the current realities of increasing class sizes (100-600+ students).  From a research perspective, my goal is to evaluate the impact of these modified strategies on student learning and engagement. In particular, I am interested in novel methods for teaching critical thinking and communication skills in health sciences education. 

Examples of Active Projects

  • Linking academic writing to community needs using a multimedia knowledge translation project.  
  • Design and evaluation of a novel group undergraduate trans-disciplinary research experience. 

Ritchie KL. Thinking beyond the page: Getting more out of traditional writing assignments. Teaching and Learning Innovation Journal, 2012; Vol 15. 

Bradley, N, Jadeski, L,  Newton, G.  Ritchie, K.  Merrett, S and Bettger, W.  The Use of a Learning Management System (LMS) to Serve as the Virtual Common Space of a Network for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in an Academic Department. Education Sciences. 2013; 3(2):136-146.

Tishinsky JM, Gulli RA, Mullen KL, Dyck DJ, Robinson LE.  Fish oil prevents high-saturated fat diet-induced impairments in adiponectin and insulin response in rodent soleus muscle. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2012; 302(5):R598-605. 

Mullen, KL, Tishinsky, JM, Robinson, LE, and Dyck, DJ. Skeletal muscle inflammation is not responsible for the rapid impairment in adiponectin response with high fat feeding in rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2010; 299(2):R500-8. 

Mullen KL, Pritchard J, Ritchie I, Snook LA, Chabowski A, Bonen A, Wright D, Dyck DJ.  Adiponectin resistance precedes the accumulation of skeletal muscle lipids and insulin resistance in high-fat-fed rats.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009; 296(2):R243-51. 

Mullen KL, Smith AC, Junkin KA and Dyck DJ. Globular adiponectin resistance develops independently of impaired insulin-stimulated glucose transport in soleus muscle from high-fat-fed rats. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007; 293(1):E83-90.

Junkin KA, Dyck DJ, Mullen KL, Chabowski A, Thrush AB.  Resistin acutely impairs insulin-stimulated glucose transport in rodent muscle in the presence, but not absence, of palmitate. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009; 296(4):R944-51.

Holloway GP, Benton CR, Mullen KL, Yoshida Y, Snook LA, Han XX, Glatz JF, Luiken JJ, Lally J, Dyck DJ, Bonen A. In obese rat muscle transport of palmitate is increased and is channeled to triacylglycerol storage despite an increase in mitochondrial palmitate oxidation.  Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2009; 296(4):E738-47. 

Pandke KE, Mullen KL, Snook LA, Bonen A, Dyck DJ. Decreasing intramuscular phosphagen content simultaneously increases plasma membrane FAT/CD36 and GLUT4 transporter abundance. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008; 295(3):R806-13.

Thrush AB, Heigenhauser GJ, Mullen KL, Wright DC, Dyck DJ.  Palmitate acutely induces insulin resistance in isolated muscle from obese but not lean humans.  Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2008; 294(4):R1205-12.

Smith AC, Mullen KL, Junkin KA, Nickerson J, Chabowski A, Bonen A, Dyck DJ. Metformin and exercise reduce muscle FAT/CD36 and lipid accumulation and blunt the progression of high-fat diet-induced hyperglycemia. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007; 293(1):E172-81.

  • NUTR*4090 University of Guelph  - Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals
  • HK*4510 University of Guelph - Teaching, Learning and Knowledge Transfer
  • KIN*3010 Guelph Humber - Exercise Physiology
  • KIN*3030 Guelph Humber - Nutrition, Exercise & Metabolism
  • KIN*3060 Guelph Humber - Human Development & Aging
Name Role
Marla, P MSc Student