Dietary lipids in growth, development and health

My research focuses on the role of dietary fat in providing essential fatty acids to support growth and development, including long-term effects on children’s physical, cognitive and behavioural health. I am investigating how specific fatty acids influence brain development and nerve function, the dietary intakes needed to ensure optimal development, and the role of altered fatty acids in disorders such as liver disease and cystic fibrosis. Clinical applications of this research have ranged from developing special feeds to support optimal brain development in premature infants, to research into diets for prevention of seizures and liver damage in children with cystic fibrosis. I also head a nationally funded Nutritional Research Program exploring how our genetic makeup blends with our nutritional intake, particularly in the maternal and early childhood period, to affect our life-long susceptibility to disease. Findings will provide important new information about tailoring nutritional intake to meet individual needs in health and disease.