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Personal profile


My professional life commenced as a clinical dietitian, completing both my Masters and PhD whilst working at the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne). I joined an international nutrition group at the at the University of Surrey, UK and after 6 years returned to Australia in 2006 to the University of Queensland. I was appointed as Professor and the inaugural Head of Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Monash University in 2009.

My research interests stem from my desire to solve practical problems. I developed the Children's Body Image Scale (CBIS), to measure the gap between a child's perceived and actual body size. The CBIS is a recognised outcome measure for childhood obesity intervention studies by the National Insitute of Clinical Excellence. The desire for thinness is more cultural than inbuilt, but it means parents and health professionals need to tread carefully when trying to help children who are above a healthy weight. Combating obesity is hard because we don't know why it affects some children in a family but not others. You're obviously born with a unique genetic profile but your early environment – what you eat and what you do - may lead to interactions between your genes and environment that trigger changes that profoundly impact your health. My research seeks to find effective interventions for weight management from pre-conception through to adulthood as there is much we need to do to assist in preventing the modern epidemics of adult heart disease, stroke and diet related cancers.

As an Advanced Practicing dietitian, a Fellow of the Association of Nutrition and a Fellow of the Nutrition Society, I have extensive expertise in measuring metabolic parameters relating to diet and activity. The Monash Be Active Sleep Eat (BASE) facility houses state of the art equipment as we have most gold standard measurement instruments available to test responses to interventions, including alterations to appetite and energy expenditure.

My research targets key points in development where positve changes can have lasting impact. In collaboration with the Sleep reserachers at Monash, we are exploring which elements of our lifestyle provide most impact for people to gain the healthiest life they can.

Communication of research outcomes and facilitating the adoption and engagement of whole population in evidence based nutrition and exercise habits underpin my research. Using technology and harnessing social media for communication combined with training and supporting the professional development of health professionals is key to ensuring that research findings make their way into practice promptly and effectively.

I am the Lead educator on the free Massive Online Open Course ‘Food as Medicine’, delivered now to over 150,000 learners across the world. Food as Medicine was rated by learners in the top 100 MOOCs in 2019. My team also support a range of short courses for health professionals in the Food as Medicine field. https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/food-as-medicine

As the Director of Dietetics at Monash, I lead the Masters in Dietetics which prepares graduates for careers in nutrition and dietetics across Australia. 

Committee Service:

  • Dep Chair, National Academy of Science Committee on Nutrition;
  • Member, Council of Deans in Nutrition and Dietetics Australia and New Zealand;
  • Chair, Health and Wellness Committee, Monash University;
  • Advisory Board Member of the Oceania Nutrition Leadership Program.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research area keywords

  • obesity weight managment
  • paediatrics
  • energy expenditure
  • weight management
  • Chronic Disease Prevention and Management
  • communcation
  • Body image


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