Students in front of research poster

Student Research

Students at Brescia are continually encouraged and mentored in research and creative scholarship. As examples, first-hand research can be included in student courses for academic credit, students can be involved in the design, implementation, analysis, and communication of research projects, or students may work as research assistants on faculty projects.

A variety of events are held to communicate students’ research endeavours:

  • School of Food & Nutritional Sciences celebrates the MScFN Thesis Student Research Presentations and the Food and Nutritional Sciences Graduate Student Research Presentation Day
  • Psychology hosts the Psychology Honours Thesis Conference annually

Undergraduate Student Research Showcase

A university-wide event designed to encourage and celebrate Undergraduate research, specifically. This provide an opportunity for Brescia undergraduates who undertake significant, systematic research share their findings with the Brescia community. These projects are conducted in conjunction with a Faculty Advisor. Follow link to view the 2019-2020 undergraduate showcases.

Undergraduate Student Research Showcase 2019-20

Madisson Biel, Jordan Thompson
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Madisson Biel, BScFN Student with Honors Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics
Jordan Thompson,
BScFN Student with Honors Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Janet Madill

Abstract
Madisson Biel, Jordan Thompson, Jenny Donnelly-VanderLoo and Dr. Janet Madill PhD RD FDC
School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, Brescia University College, London, Ontario, Canada
Nutrient consumption in young healthy females: A pilot intervention study.

In recent years there has been a growing popularity of plant-based and gluten-free diets specifically in the young adult population. Research has shown that when these diets are appropriately planned, they are healthy and may provide protection against the development of chronic diseases. However, they may result in reduced intake of essential nutrients such as iron, fibre, and folate, and these nutrients are of concern in young healthy adults.

The purpose of this research was 1) to determine if young healthy females enrolled in a nutrition program compared to a non-nutrition program were meeting their requirements for iron, fibre, and folate, and 2) to determine if the addition of a bean-rich chilli, would improve the consumption of these nutrients, in both student groups. Pre-intervention three-day food records [3DFR] were obtained. Intervention consisted of tasting chilli and education on preparation (recipe given), and students were provided with cans of beans. Students were asked to consume 8oz of chilli twice weekly for three weeks. Post-intervention 3DFR were collected, with two days including chilli consumption. ESHA Food Processor SQL was used for analysis. Nutrient intakes were compared to the DRI and/or AI as appropriate, for both time points. Frequency distributions and chi-square were used for analysis, p<0.05 for significance, SPSS v25.

50 students [n=27 nutrition, n=23 non-nutrition], mean age ± SD: 22.7 ± 3.2 years, were enrolled in the study. Nutrition and non-nutrition students meeting their requirements, respectively: folate: pre-intervention: 12% and 19%, post-intervention: 25% and 40%; iron: pre-intervention: 18% and 15%, post-intervention: 40% and 28%; fibre: pre-intervention: 42% and 34%, post-intervention: 91% and 100%. There were no significant differences between the two groups.

Iron, folate, and fibre are nutrients of concern for young healthy females, and by adding a bean-rich chilli, intakes of these nutrients increased, although not significant. With the increase in plant-based and gluten-free diets, these nutrients may be of greater concern if not appropriately planned, however further research is warranted.

(This study was funded by Brescia University College and Ontario Bean Growers)

Miranda Galati, Tia Tucci
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Miranda Galati
BScFN Student with Honors Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics
Tia Tucci
BScFN Student with Honors Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Colleen O’Connor

Abstract
Miranda Galati, Tia Tucci, and Dr. Colleen O’Connor
School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, Brescia University College, London, Ontario, Canada
Developing Nutrition Education Programs and Cooking Classes for Individuals with Deafblindness

Student researchers collaborated with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Deafblind Services to plan, develop and deliver nutrition education workshops and personalized grocery tours for individuals with deafblindness.

The project began with a literature review that revealed several challenges faced by deafblind persons as a result of their dual sensory impairment. Challenges identified were: limited communication, poor mobility, restricted access to intervenors and social assistance, infrequent social interaction, and poor mental health. Deafblind persons can experience a wide range of impairments, each of which requires a different mode of communication such as spoken word, sign language, tactile sign language, Tadoma method, deafblind alphabet and idiosyncratic signs.

As these challenges became better understood, students tailored nutrition programming using the direction of CNIB staff and feedback from CNIB Deafblind clients. Throughout the academic year, students conducted 6 nutrition education lessons and guided various grocery tours. Students also created a deafblind-accessible recipe book, which will hopefully be converted to Braille. Additionally, they pre-planned programming for the 2020-21 academic year so that new students may continue the project.

There is an evident gap in the literature and healthcare field with regard to this population, as well as a necessary need for increased support for individuals within the deafblind community. Therefore, the goal is to establish a long-term partnership between CNIB Deafblind Services and Brescia University College so future students may continue to refine programming and deliver impactful nutrition education to this vulnerable population.

Reem Kazamel
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Reem Kazamel
BScFN Student with Honors Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Janet Madill

Abstract
Tela Verrelli MScFN(c), Reem Kazamel BScFN(c), Elana Vickers BScFN(c), Dr. Brenda Hartman PhD RD, and Dr. Janet Madill PhD RD FDC.
School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, Brescia University College, London, Ontario, Canada
Assessing Quadricep Muscle Layer Thickness (QMLT), Protein Intake and Physical Activity in Students Attending Western University

Background: Muscle thickness is a major component of the body’s ability to respond to acute and chronic illness. Ultrasound imaging [US] has emerged as a convenient, non-invasive, bedside technique to assess lean muscle mass [LMM]. Aging causes LMM loss and may be influenced by total and per meal protein intake as well as physical activity [PA]. Currently, QMLT norms have not been determined in young healthy individuals.

Objective: The primary aim was to measure QMLT, and to determine norms for young healthy adults between the ages of 18-30. The secondary aim was to assess the relationship between QMLT, total and per meal protein intake and PA.

Methods: An observational study measuring QMLT using SonoSite ultrasound machine [US], measurements on mid-point of each thigh. Protein intakes were obtained using 24 hr food record and food frequencies and will be analyzed using ESHA. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire [IPAQ] validated tool to assess level of PA. Frequency distributions, Spearman’s Correlation to determine associations between QMLT, protein intake and PA will be conducted.

Results: Preliminary findings from 59 students 93% female, 7% males and mean age 21 ± 2.2 years. Mean QMLT [cm] for females 3.63 vs males 4.81. Finalizing analysis of protein intake as well as assessing their PA is being conducted.

Conclusion: QMLT can be assessed with US. Further research is ongoing to assess possible associations between QMLT, protein, and PA.

Colleen Martin
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Colleen Martin
Student in the Honors Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics (BSc) program with a Major in Kinesiology (BA)
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Janet Madill

Abstract
Colleen Martin and Dr. Janet Madill PhD RD FDC
School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, Brescia University College, London, Ontario, Canada
The impact of leucine supplementation on indicators of muscle mass in transplant patients

There is currently limited research on the impact of leucine supplementation on indicators of muscle mass (i.e. hand-grip strength, 6-minute walking test, bioelectrical impedance) in pancreas and kidney transplant patients. These patients often present with muscle wasting and since leucine is a branched chain amino acid (BCAA) that promotes muscle synthesis, it is hypothesized there could be a positive relationship. However, with the limited research the impact of leucine in other transplant patients (i.e. liver transplant patients) and diseases (i.e. cirrhosis) are investigated in this study. The research thus far has found, in cirrhotic patients, that there is slowed catabolism with BCAA ingestion and when paired with an exercise program, leucine helped improve 6-minute walk test, leg muscle mass, vitality, social function and the 2-minute step test. A late evening snack comprised of BCAAs remains controversial in its efficacy for cirrhotic patients. Further research is encouraged to obtain conclusive results on the impact of leucine on indicators of muscle mass in transplant patients.

 

Haley Thompson
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Haley Thompson
BMOS Student with Honors Specialization in Non-Profit Management
Faculty Advisor: Professor Julie Young-Marcellin

Abstract
Haley Thompson and Julie Young-Marcellin, MA, PhD(c)
Brescia University College, London, Ontario, Canada
Gendered Bias in Family Court Study

This independent study specifically focuses on exploring if gender bias exists within the family courts system. Through literature review and study, multiple articles and studies were read and analyzed to understand and learn more of the context surrounding domestic abuse, the court system for children, judicial decisions and their implications, and many other concepts. It is seen that failure to evaluate or appropriately respond to abuse allegations has been widely documented. Family court professionals are skeptical of abuse allegations and presume that women are trying to gain a tactical advantage in family court proceedings. They also believe that the child’s best interests are served by shared parenting arrangements.

Additionally, research for this independent study involved collecting and analyzing electronically available published judicial opinions in custody cases in a Canadian context. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the cases to see if there were relevant themes and insights from the cases that relate to the literature. A major theme discovered was that of parental alienation accusations. The analysis was coded and added to other research being conducted. This finding, among others, was the beginning of research being done to aid a larger study into the subject matter, headed by Professor Julie Young. The six cases analyzed in this independent study will be added to that ongoing study.

Megan Versteegh
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Megan Versteegh
BScFN Student with Honors Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Janet Madill

Abstract
D. Yung, M. Levine, E. Vlietstra, M. Versteegh, P. Luke, and Dr. Janet Madill PhD RD
School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, Brescia University College, London, Ontario, Canada
Quadriceps Muscle Layer Thickness (QMLT), Length of Stay (LOS), and Quality of Life (QOL) in the Kidney Transplant Population: A Prospective Study

Background: Quality of life (QOL) in end-stage kidney patients has been shown to improve following transplantation. Lower levels of fatigue and improvement in various aspects of health-related QOL have been observed, however, no research has been conducted examining associations between QMLT and QOL in kidney recipients.

Objectives: The overarching purpose of this study was to assess Quadriceps Muscle Layer Thickness (QMLT) in pre and post transplantation. Primary Objective: To determine the association between QMLT and length-of-stay (LOS). Secondary objective: To determine the association with QMLT and QOL.

Methods: One hundred and ten potential participants were recruited. Baseline data were collected pre- transplant including QMLT, frailty score, and QOL survey, among others. The validated Short Form 36 Health Survey Version 2 includes 8 health-related domains to assess QOL. Scores range from 0-100 for each domain with a higher number indicating an improved QOL. The same data will be collected at 3 and 12-months post-transplant.

Results: Preliminary baseline data from 20 subjects includes: 60% male and 40% female; mean age: 46.3 years. Mean QOL scores: physical functioning: 62.8; role limitations caused by physical health problems: 47.8; bodily pain: 78.6; general health perception: 50.1; vitality: 47.8, social functioning: 61.3; role limitations caused by emotional problems: 67.9, and mental health: 62.8.

Conclusion: Role limitations caused by physical health problems, vitality and general health perception represent the lowest QOL scores pre-transplant. Assessment of these parameters at 3 and 12 months post-transplant and any potential associations with QMLT is ongoing.

Elana Vickers
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Elana Vickers
BScFN Student with Honors Specialization in Nutrition and Dietetics
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Janet Madill

Abstract
Elana Vickers BScFN(c), Tela Verrelli MScFN(c), Reem Kazamel BScFN(c), Dr. Brenda Hartman PhD RD, and Dr. Janet Madill PhD RD FDC.
School of Food & Nutritional Sciences, Brescia University College, London, Ontario, Canada
The Effects of Protein, Leucine, and Physical Activity on Quadriceps Muscle Layer Thickness (QMLT) in Young Adults – A Systematic Review

Introduction: Assessing quadriceps muscle layer thickness (QMLT) using ultrasound technology has emerged as a reliable method to measure muscle mass. Peak muscle mass occurs at age 25, however aging causes loss of lean muscle mass. This process may be influenced by protein and leucine intake as well as physical activity (PA). However, whether the protein or PA alone or in combination provides the best results for enhanced QMLT is currently unknown. Thus, the primary aim was to examine the individual and combined effects of protein intake and PA on QMLT in young, healthy adults. The secondary aim was to examine if leucine offers an added benefit to augment QMLT hypertrophy.

Methods: A literature search using PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, and Scopus, was conducted by two reviewers using keywords: quadriceps muscle layer thickness, QMLT, quadriceps, muscle thickness, ultrasound, young adult, exercise, physical activity, protein, leucine, and whey protein. Studies were selected based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews (PRISMA) guidelines. The Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition (PEN) system was used for critical appraisal.

Results: Of the 287 articles, 22 randomized controlled trials (RCT) were included. Of these, 14 examined PA and QMLT. The remaining eight examined protein intake, PA and QMLT together, with three also examining leucine intake. Currently, we are critically analyzing and PEN grading these studies.

Conclusions: Preliminary results indicate that different types of protein and defined exercise regimens may show a positive association with improved QMLT. Further research is ongoing.