The Joannah & Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition is a model for interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research. Together, our researchers in nutritional sciences, paediatrics, family and community medicine, social determinants of health, behavioural science, anthropology, health policy, food supply and regulation, communication, and education will help us realize our common vision.


Our network of experts helps to shape health policies and guidelines, clinical practice, and product innovations in the food industries to improve the health of children of all ages in Canada and around the world. The University of Toronto’s international collaborations in China, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Bangladesh, and many other countries help to spread our ideas worldwide.

Our network includes:

Core Researchers

Lawson Centre researchers are affiliated with one or more academic departments at the University of Toronto:

The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital

The knowledge translation methodologies and population health research of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute help the Lawson Centre translate discovery about the role of children’s nutrition into new models of social and health care, and make recommendations for health care policy and clinical practice reform.

Alliance for Human Development

Supported by the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, the Alliance for Human Development provides the institutional umbrella to support research that applies a transdisciplinary focus to improve the health and well-being of children across the life-course. Its mission is to generate new knowledge on the science behind human development, to develop effective interventions to improve maternal and child well-being, and to shape the national and global policy agenda in human development.

The Hospital for Sick Children

With over 200 principal investigators and 1,000 trainees, SickKids Research Institute is Canada’s largest hospital-based, child health research institution. Nearly all SickKids' clinical researchers are appointed in the Department of Paediatrics, with several cross-appointed to Nutritional Sciences, and Family and Community Medicine.

TARGet Kids!

TARGet Kids!, led by Drs. Patricia Parkin, Jonathon Maguire and Catherine Birken, provides helpful insight into the long-term effects of childhood conditions through engagement with primary care doctors. The project is a collaborative study between researchers and physicians that will improve the quality of children’s health as they grow into adulthood by addressing obesity, nutritional deficiencies and developmental problems. 

University of Toronto Collaborators

The Lawson Centre builds on existing and new relationships within the U of T community. Our partners include:

External Collaborators

The Lawson Centre’s external partners include provincial and federal governments, professional associations, the food industry, consumers, nutrition advocates, and NGOs. They help us with determining our strategic directions. Working with our food industry partners is essential in applying the Lawson Centre’s discoveries in practice and advocating for improved nutrition and food security to the people around the world. At the same time, collaborating with government agencies ensures food and nutrition policy is in line with our latest findings for the benefit of families in Canada and abroad.

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