Daiva Nielsen, Assistant Professor

School of Human Nutrition
McGill University

Dr. Daiva Nielsen is an Assistant Professor in the School of Human Nutrition and Scientific Director of the Mary Emily Clinical Nutrition Research Unit at McGill University. Her research program evaluates gene-environment interactions on nutrition and health outcomes, with a specific focus on neurobehavioural aspects of eating including food reward and sensory perception. Her lab also engages in applied research activities to advance nutrition research and practice, such as through the development of automated methods to organize large-scale uncategorized dietary intake data and use of genetic testing for personalized nutrition. Her research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, New Frontiers in Research Fund, Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, and the Banting Research Foundation.

Genetic testing for nutrition in and out of practice: Evidence from the field to inform next steps

Genetic testing for nutrition is increasingly accessible both in and out of clinical practice. Yet a number of questions remain regarding the validity and utility of genetic information for nutrition and lifestyle modification, and ultimately, whether such a tool is “ready for prime time”. This presentation will provide an overview of the different avenues from which genetic testing for nutrition can be sought, including discussion of empirical evidence obtained “in the field” from both consumer genomics and genetic testing for nutrition in clinical practice. Moreover, an overview will be provided of health behaviour changes following disclosure of personal genetic information obtained from both consumer and clinical sources. The learning objectives from this session include: 1) Understanding the demographics and perceptions of early adopters of consumer genomics and genetic testing for nutrition in clinical practice, respectively. Considering how their similarities/differences are relevant to the broader uptake of nutrigenomics. 2) Depiction of healthcare professional and patient actions before and after genetic testing for nutrition in practice, and consideration of implications for the field. 3) Comparisons of health behaviour changes following genetic testing among consumers and patients, respectively. 4) Becoming familiar with a novel practical framework for the use of genetic testing for nutrition in clinical practice.