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Timothy Johns

Tim Johns

Professor of Human Nutrition
Director, McGill Canadian Field Studies in Africa (CFSIA)

Tel.: 514-398-7847
Fax: 514-398-7739
tim [dot] johns [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email)


BSc, Biochemistry, McMaster University, 1972
MSc, Botany, University of British Columbia, 1980
PhD, Botany, University of Michigan, 1985

Awards and Recognitions

1987-97 University Research Fellowship, NSERC
1985 Distinguished Dissertation Award, Council of Graduate Schools USA/University Microfilms International
1985 Edmund H. Fulling Award, Society for Economic Botany

Current Research

Dr. Timothy Johns is a nutritionist and ethnobotanist whose research interests focus on the traditional uses of plants for food and medicine in relation to issues of contemporary nutrition and health, the understanding of human adaptation in diverse environments and the evolutionary origins of diet and medicine. His work involves field studies with communities in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Canada in conjunction with laboratory analysis of chemical composition and medicinal properties of plants.        

a) Agricultural biodiversity contributions to  nutrition, food security and health: establishing the evidence-base

b) Ecological, socio-cultural and health determinants of agricultural technology adoption in East Africa

c) Traditional ethnobotanical knowledge and the transformation of local and global food systems

Current Publications

Johns T, Powell B, Maundu P, Eyzaguirre, P. 2013. Agricultural biodiversity as a link between traditional food systems and contemporary development, social integrity and ecological health. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.  doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6351. [Epub ahead of print]

Powell, B., J. Hall and T. Johns. 2011. Forest cover, use and dietary intake in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania.  International Forestry Review 13(3):1-13.

Harris, C.S., L.P. Beaulieu, M.H. Fraser, K.L. McIntyre, L.C. Martineau, A. Cuerrier, T. Johns, P.S. Haddad, S.A.L. Bennett, J.T. Arnason. 2011 Inhibition of advanced glycation endproduct formation by medicinal plant extracts correlates with phenolic metabolites and anti-oxidant activity. Planta Medica. 77(2):196-204.  DOI: 10.1055/s-0030-1250161  

Bélanger, J, M. Balakrishna,  P. Latha  S. Katumalla, T. Johns. 2010.Contribution of selected wild and cultivated leafy vegetables from South India to lutein and b-carotene intake. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 19 (3):417-424.

Owen, P.L.,  L.C. Martineau,  D. Caves, P.S. Haddad T. Matainaho and T. Johns. 2008. Consumption of guava (Psidium guajava L.) and noni (Morinda citrifolia L.) may protect betel quid-chewing Papua New Guineans against diabetes. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 17(4): 635-643.  

Bélanger, J. and T. Johns.  2008. Biodiversity, dietary diversity and eye health in developing country populations: establishing the evidence-base. EcoHealth. 5:244-256. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-008-0180-2

Fraser, M.-H., A. Cuerrier, P.S. Haddad, J.T. Arnason, P.L. Owen, T. Johns. 2007. Medicinal plants of Cree communities (Québec, Canada): Antioxidant activity of plants used to treat Type 2 Diabetes symptoms.  Canadian Journal of Physiology and  Pharmacology  85:1200-1214.  DOI: 10.1139/Y07-108

Parker, M.E., S. Chabot, M. Ole Karbolo, B.J. Ward, T. Johns. 2007. Traditional dietary additives of the Maasai have antiviral activity against the measles virus. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 114:146-152.  DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.06.011  

Johns, T. and P.B. Eyzaguirre. 2007. Biofortification, biodiversity and diet: a search for complementary applications against poverty and malnutrition. Food Policy.  32:1-24. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2006.03.014

Johns, T. and P.B. Eyzaguirre. 2006. Linking biodiversity, diet and health in policy and practice. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 65:182-189.

Johns, T. and B.R. Sthapit. 2004. Biocultural diversity in the sustainability of developing country food systems. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. 25:143-155.