Research Themes

Research in the Lawson Centre currently falls into six themes:

  • Healthy Development
  • Nutrition Interventions in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Food and Nutrition Policy
  • Nutrient Sensing and Personalized Health
  • Food Behaviour in Families
  • Global Nutrition
  • Delivery science to improve maternal, infant and child nutrition globally

Each theme spans several areas of focus, outlined below.

Research Themes

Healthy Child Development

  • Epigenetics, fetal programming, gene expression and regulation in animal models and human cohorts
  • The role of nutrient availability on neonatal development (e.g., longitudinal birth cohort of infants born to women with glucose intolerance during pregnancy)
  • Investigating growth, metabolic, and cognitive developmental outcomes in offspring
  • The effect of breast milk composition and supplements on term/pre-term infant growth and neurodevelopment
  • Neurocognitive development
  • The impact of food intake on regulation and development from birth
  • The impact of early nutritional deprivation in animal models of learning and behaviour
  • Impact of early microbiome development on gut health and chronic disease

Nutrition Interventions in Children’s Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

  • Randomized controlled clinical trials of promising nutritional interventions, which are relevant and generalizable to primary care settings
  • Testing methods to facilitate uptake of evidence-based interventions into primary care and public health settings
  • Establishing clinical practice guidelines
  • Chronic disease surveillance
  • Reducing health disparities
  • Promoting equity for vulnerable populations
  • Development and evaluation of integrated community- and family-based models of care for high-needs populations

Children’s Food and Nutritional Policy

  • Integrity of children’s food supply chain (safety, nutrient density, claims on food, nutrition standards, food marketing)
  • Culturally appropriate local crops and food technology
  • Food security in Canada
  • Equity in access
  • Availability to nutritious food

Nutrient Sensing and Personalized Health

  • Genetic determinants of food metabolism (nutragenomics)
  • Lipid and glucose biomarkers (metabolomics)

Food Behaviour in Children and Families

  • Family nutritional literacy and awareness, and impacts on child food behaviour
  • Effect of changing physiological and external environment on food intake behaviours during puberty

Global Child Nutrition

  • Providing leadership on international child nutrition public policy
  • Studies of nutrition during pregnancy, infancy and childhood in international environments