Nutrition and Academic Advisors

The Canadian Sugar Institute is committed to maintaining responsible and transparent processes in all its activities, including engagements and partnerships with interested health professionals and scientific bodies on relevant research, education, and communications projects. We aim to adhere to the guiding principles laid out in the publication “Achieving a transparent, actionable framework for public-private partnerships for food and nutrition research” (Alexander et al., 2015). 

The effectiveness of the Canadian Sugar Institute's Nutrition Information Centre depends on advice from nutrition experts and professional groups. For this reason, the Canadian Sugar Institute works collaboratively with other organizations and groups to ensure a science-based approach to the communication and dissemination of information that relates to food, nutrition, and health in the Canadian context.

Canadian Sugar Institute Scientific Advisory Council

The Canadian Sugar Institute’s Nutrition Information Centre is guided by a Scientific Advisory Council, a group of respected nutrition researchers from across Canada.

The Scientific Advisory Council members are:

Nick Bellissimo, PhD
Professor, School of Nutrition
Toronto Metropolitan University
Director of the Food Intake Regulation and Satiety Testing (FIRST) Laboratory

David D. Kitts, PhD
Professor, Department of Food Science
University of British Columbia

Krista Power, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Nutrition Sciences
University of Ottawa

Robert Ross, PhD
Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Medicine
Queen's University

Donna Vine, PhD
Professor, Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Science
University of Alberta

Nick Bellissimo, PhD

Dr. Nick Bellissimo is an Associate Professor and Director of the Nutrition Discovery Labs in the School of Nutrition at Toronto Metropolitan University.  He received his B.Sc. and B.Ed. at York University and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto. Following postdoctoral training at the University of Toronto and The Pennsylvania State University he returned to Canada and established a research program dedicated to advancing our understanding of human ingestive behavior, with a particular emphasis on elucidating the determinants of food intake control in children. Through his interdisciplinary research program, he has examined the associations among macronutrient composition, exercise, hormonal and environmental factors with the goal of informing the development of evidence-based guidelines for promoting healthier body weights. He has significant leadership in the design of experimental trials related to diet and exercise, and in the design and testing of novel food ingredients, food formulations on satiety, and on biomarkers related to health and disease. Since 2009, he has received continuous external research support (totaling over $10M as PI, Co-PI or Co-Investigator) from government and industry sources. Dr. Bellissimo’s work has led to 100+ publications, training of 75+ highly qualified personnel, and 100+ abstracts and conference proceedings. He is also recipient of several competitive awards including Ryerson’s Dean’s Teaching Award (2014), the Sue Williams Excellence Teaching Award (2016), the Dean's Scholarly, Research and Creative Activity Award (2017), and Canadian Nutrition Society Volunteer Leadership Award (2019). He is a member of several journal editorial boards, and provides scientific advising to government agencies, institutes, and the food industry. 

David D. Kitts, PhD

Dr. David Kitts obtained his BSc, MSc and PhD degrees at the University of British Columbia, specializing in the area of animal physiology and biochemistry, followed by a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Davis in Physiology and Endocrinology. Dr. Kitts is a professor in the Food Science group within the Food Nutrition and Health program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, at the University of B.C. Dr. Kitts teaches 3rd and 4th year undergraduate course in Food Chemistry, Functional Foods and graduate courses in Advances in Food Chemistry and Food Toxicology. He is also currently the Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Land and Food Systems.  His areas of research specialize in the disciplines of Food Chemistry, Toxicology and Nutrition. His research activities include the identification of potential toxicants in foods and evaluation of processes for removal or inactivation from the food supply. He is a former president of BC Food Technologists and one of the founding directors of BC Functional Food and Nutraceuticals. Dr. Kitts has served on many national committees that have worked to develop standards for nutritional labelling and nutritional claims. His research activities in the past include the identification of potential toxicants in foods and evaluation of processes for removal or inactivation from the food supply. 

A long standing, key research of Dr. Kitts continues to be working on factors that are involved on generation of the Maillard reaction, a common reaction which can be attributed to the browning of food and which also dictates the availability of reducing sugars for functional versus nutritional purposes. These same Maillard reaction products have important bioactive properties that are being examined.  In addition, he has been active at characterizing the structure-function activities of several naturally antioxidants present in plant and animal food sources, and the related potential physiological responses in regulating oxidative stress. He has developed some interesting encapsulation methods to stabilize essential nutrients and bioactive molecules. He has published more than 300 papers on these topics. 

Krista Power, PhD

Krista Power is an associate professor at the School of Nutrition Sciences, University of Ottawa, and an adjunct professor at both the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, and the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto. In 2007, she earned a PhD from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, and from 2006 to 2008, she was an NSERC post-doctoral fellow at the University of Turku, Finland, and at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, during which she used an array of cellular and in vivo models to research the role of phytoestrogens and phytoestrogen-rich foods, such as flaxseed and soy, on estrogen signalling in human health and disease.

From 2008 to 2017, Professor Power served as a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, where she initiated and led a diet-and-gut health research team in demonstrating the importance of dietary components in modulating the intestinal microbiota and in intestinal barrier integrity and function, and the role of diet in preventing and treating chronic disease.

Robert Ross, PhD

Dr. Robert Ross obtained a PhD in Exercise Physiology from the Université de Montréal in 1992.  He is currently a Professor within the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen’s University. His research program focuses on the development of strategies designed to manage lifestyle-based disease. He is a Past-President of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, and Vice-President of the College of Kinesiology in Ontario. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Heart Association, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and is a recipient of the Honor Award from the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology and the Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine for research excellence.  

Donna Vine, PhD

Dr. Donna Vine obtained a PhD in Human Nutrition from the University of Western Australia. Dr. Vine is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science at the University of Alberta and is Co-Director of the Metabolic and Cardiovascular Disease Laboratory. She is an Executive Committee member of the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Alberta Diabetes Institute. Dr. Vine instructs advanced courses in nutritional biochemistry and physiology, and clinical research courses on diet interventions in chronic disease. Dr Vine’s research program examines lipid, glucose and endocrine metabolism and cardiovascular disease risk in obesity, metabolic syndrome, and polycystic ovary syndrome. 

Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs

The Canadian Sugar Institute contributes to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) University-Industry Program in Food Safety, Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs (PFSNRA), an affiliate of the Department of Nutritonal Sciences, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. For nearly 30 years the PFSNRA has brought together scientific expertise from universities, industry, government, health sector and NGOs to address complex food and nutrition related issues in Canada. The PFSNRA also has international linkages to make use of global scientific advances in food and health sectors. The PFSNRA plays a crucial part in promoting scientific understanding of current issues through scientific academic-industry collaboration amongst its members and associates.

World Sugar Research Organisation

World Sugar Research Organisation

The Canadian Sugar Institute is a member of the World Sugar Research Organisation (WSRO), an international non-profit organization that focuses on the science of sugar(s) and health. The WSRO is the only international scientific research organization that is dedicated to the development of a better understanding of the role of sugar(s) in health and nutrition. WSRO supports research addressing knowledge gaps, and provides perspective on the body of the evidence on sugar(s) and health. 

Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research

CFDR logoThe Canadian Sugar Institute is a corporate partner of the Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research (CFDR). CFDR is the authoritative research funding organization for food, nutrition and dietetics. Funding supports "the development of quality advice and accessible resources that are based on credible scientific evidence, to help enhance the health of all Canadians." CSI's contributions help to fund dietetic research across the country, and impact the health of all Canadians.

Mitacs Partnership

Mitacs logo

Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that has designed and delivered research and training programs in Canada for 20 years. Working with 70 universities, 6,000 companies, and both federal and provincial governments, Mitacs builds partnerships that support industrial and social innovation in Canada. The Canadian Sugar Institute offers funding opportunities through Mitacs research internship programs to promote high quality research and evidence-based nutrition communications. 

The current recipient of this funding is masters student, Mr. Oliver Sage (May 2022 - August 2023) under the supervision of Dr. Tamara Cohen (University of British Columbia). His project utilizes a series of surveys and focus groups to test the suitability and acceptability of sample CSI resources amongst a group of registered dietitians, and understand barriers and facilitators to use of CSI education resources from a dietitetics perspective. Findings will be used to create a series of recommendations for improving current and future nutrition education resources. 

A past recipient was Dr. Laura Chiavaroli (Jan 2019-August 2021) under the supervision of Dr. John Sievenpiper (University of Toronto). Her project involved 1) providing high quality evidence on the effect of specific food sources of sugars on cardiometabolic risk factors by conducting multiple systematic reviews and meta-analyses (SRMAs), and 2) translating the evidence from these studies both directly to the public and indirectly through communications to clinicians and public policy makers, in addition to developing training programs on how to conduct high quality SRMAs in nutrition research.

Dietetic Student Practicum Placements

The Canadian Sugar Institute is pleased to offer practicum placement opportunities for dietetic and Masters-level interns to complete their community placement and fulfill required Population and Public Health competencies. Placements last between 6-16 weeks and can be conducted in person or virtually. As part of these placements, CSI provides training in areas of knowledge translation, scientific evaluation, and communications.

For more information, interested program coordinators or students can contact CSI’s Director, Nutrition Communications, Chiara DiAngelo, MPH, RD, at