Our dynamic team is made up of graduate students who are dedicated to improving maternal and child nutrition. Our research interests include maternal and child nutrition, women empowerment, food security, nutrition education, and program implementation. We’re proud to come from over half a dozen countries with a myriad of professional experiences and educational backgrounds such as nutrition, food security, public health, and international forestry.
Welcome to our Current Research Team!
On this page you will find Our Current Associate Professor, Research candidates and Interns
Grace Marquis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, School of Human Nutrition
Grace S. Marquis is Associate Professor at McGill University and Associate Professor/Collaborator at Iowa State University. Her research career began in Peru at the Instituto de Investigación Nutricional. In 1999, her research group started working in Ghana. These long-term collaborations continue today. The work in Ghana is primarily through the Nutrition Research and Training Centre, a permanent research site which she built in the Eastern Region in collaboration with faculty at the University of Ghana. Her community-based research examines how many social, cultural, biological, and environmental factors interact and the mechanisms by which they alter a household’s ability to provide optimal feeding and caregiving for young children. Based on acquired knowledge, her research group develops alternative strategies that will support child health and growth and are feasible for families in poverty. Dr. Marquis is Associate Editor for Advances in Nutrition. She was the Canadian Research Chair in Social and Environmental Aspects of Nutrition from 2006-2016. She received a Doctorate of Laws, honoris causa, for contribution to tertiary education from the University of Ghana in 2013.
Mona Ghadirian, MPH, Ph.D. Candidate
Mona has a Bachelor of Arts and Science in International Development and Biomedical Science from McGill University and a Master of Public Health from the University of Waterloo. Her research interests include adolescent nutrition, nutrition literacy, education, youth participatory action research, and participatory visual methodologies. Her doctoral research aimed to understand how participatory video nutrition education can play a role in influencing nutrition literacy among adolescent girls in rural Ghana. She has also been working as a consultant in adolescent nutrition and participatory video methodologies for organizations like Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Nutrition International, Olinga Foundation, and Associates for Change.
Aishat Abdu, MSc, Ph.D . Candidate
Aishat holds Bachelor’s in Dietetics from Ahfad University for Women (Sudan) and a Master’s in Human Nutrition from McGill University. Her research interests are in gender, empowerment, nutrition-sensitive agriculture intervention, household food security, and women’s nutritional status. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the School of Human Nutrition, McGill University under the supervision of Prof. Grace Marquis and her doctoral committee members Prof. Richmond Aryeetey (University of Ghana) and Prof. Franque Grimard (McGill University). Her doctoral research uses a mixed-method approach to explore and understand measures of empowerment among rural women farmers and their linkages to women’s nutritional outcomes and household food security in rural Ghana. Aishat has collaborated previously with NGOs to conduct gender-related research and develop a policy report. She has years of field research experience in rural settings of the African continent, developing and implementing surveys and qualitative approaches.
Priscilla Boadi, MIF, Ph.D. Candidate
Priscilla has a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (Ghana). In 2016, she obtained a Master of Science in International Forestry from the University of British Columbia (Canada) as a MasterCard Foundation Scholar. Her research interests include nutrition-sensitive agriculture, women's empowerment, women's and youth nutrition, agripreneurship, poverty alleviation, and sustainable food systems. Her doctoral research aims to assess the nutrition sensitivity of food and agricultural policies and investments in Ghana.
Marisol Vidal Batres, MSc Student
Marisol holds a bachelor's degree in nutrition from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi (UASLP). Currently, she is completing her master’s degree in Human Nutrition at McGill University. Her Master’s project is focused on risk factors for interrupting exclusive breastfeeding such as maternal and infant symptoms in the Peruvian population under the supervision of Dr. Grace Marquis. Previously she worked as a research assistant at the UASLP. The research was focused on obesity and its comorbidities in the infant and adult Mexican population. Also, she holds experience as a dietitian in Mexico. She participated in a summer internship at the University of Illinois in the project “Abriendo Caminos”. Her research interests are infant feeding practices and non-communicable diseases.
Sherry Zhu, MSc Student
Sherry obtained her BSc in Nutritional Science with a concentration in Health and Disease from McGill University in 2019. She is currently completing the MSc Applied Project program in Human Nutrition at McGill University under the supervision of Dr. Grace Marquis. Given her interest in women’s empowerment in the majority world, her project focuses on investigating the association between women’s empowerment and children’s nutritional status in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
Ana Maria Maldonado Garza, Bsc Student
Ana María Maldonado Garza is completing her last year of BSc in Nutrition and Wellness at the University Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey. She is currently enrolled in McGill’s Undergraduate Research Trainee Program as part of her electives courses since July 2022. She has been supporting the PhD research focusing on the linkages between women's empowerment with nutritional status and household food security in rural Ghana, working with survey and dietary data. She has previously been involved in several extracurricular activities: President of the Nutrition and Wellness Alumni Society (2020-2021), General Director of the Transformational Leadership Award (2021) and has been actively involved in social activities such as being the Coordinator of the Social Service of Nutrition and Exercise for Adults (NAFA) and participated in medical brigades. Her research interests are in global nutrition, maternal and child nutrition, food security and sustainable food production.
On this section , you will find previous Research Candidates and Interns
Diana Dallmann, Ph.D .
Diana holds a PhD in Human Nutrition from McGill University and is interested in understanding the drivers of successful implementation of policies and interventions to improve maternal & child nutrition. Her PhD research combined quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate women’s participation in a nutrition-sensitive agriculture intervention in Ghana. Diana believes in the importance of capacity building and knowledge sharing, and accumulated over ten years of training & teaching experience in low-, middle-, and high-income countries. She also has experience collaborating with NGOs addressing food insecurity in different countries, where she developed surveys, trained field research assistants, analyzed data, and wrote reports. Currently, she's working remotely as an independent researcher.
Yvonne Goh, Ph.D.
Yvonne has a BSc in Nutrition and Food Science and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Ghana. She has seven years of experience in nutrition field research in rural and peri-urban settings of Ghana. Her doctoral research investigated the infant and young child feeding (IYCF) environment in rural Ghana using mixed methods and tested an innovative mass media nutrition education intervention to address poor IYCF practices. She is interested in nutrition intervention research to improve maternal and child outcomes in low resource settings. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Francisco and working on the Multiply-Fortified Salt (MFS) trial in Northern India. The trial aims to test the efficacy of salt fortified with iron, zinc, vitamin B12, folic acid, and iodine on the micronutrient status of non-pregnant women of reproductive age and preschool-aged children.
Meray Arnouk, MSc Student
Meray received her Bachelor’s degree in pharmacology in her home country of Syria. Her work as an NGO-affiliated health educator in refugee camps showed her the importance of the social determinants of health for proper nutrition and disease prevention. Passionate about humanitarian work, she pursued a Master’s in nutrition at McGill University with a focus on global nutrition. Her research was unique; a mixed methods study that focused on the determinants and consequences of overweight and obesity in rural Ghanaian farmer households. During her one-month stay at the Nutrition Research and Training Centre in Ghana, she carried out a qualitative study with the help of LinkINg Up project communities. The study highlighted the importance of considering context and local people’s perceptions when designing research methodology and thinking of solutions for nutritional problems. Learning from the LinkINg UP project, Meray understood how research can be transformative and life-changing when i) it takes into account the population’s economic and lifestyle priorities, and ii) it is designed in a way that is sustainable. Upon returning to Canada, Meray presented her research findings during McGill's 2021 Global Health Week. Meray received her Master’s degree in February 2023 and is eager to work in the humanitarian sector and help improve the well-being of vulnerable groups.
Bianca Matthews, Undergraduate Research Student
Bianca Matthews is an undergraduate student at McGill University completing her 4th and final year in the BSc psychology program. She is a McGill 2022 Global Health Summer Scholar supported by the John Locke Churchill Scholar award. In the summer of 2022,Bianca worked with Prof. Grace Marquis and Mona Ghadirian on assessing the nutrition literacy of adolescent girls in a rural district of Ghana. Her past research and extracurricular involvement has been focused on patient advocacy, crafting mental health resources for diverse populations, and maternal health. Her research interests lie in bridging the gap between mental, physical, and chronic illness trajectories, and uplifting marginalized perspectives in research.
Sadie Valente, Undergraduate Research Student
Sadie Valente is a 3rd-year undergraduate student at McGill who is currently pursuing a BA in International Development. She is a McGill 2022 Global Health Summer Scholar supported by the John Locke Churchill Scholar award. This summer, she worked with Dr. Grace Marquis and doctoral candidate Mona Ghadirian on analyzing the acceptability and feasibility of a participatory video intervention targeting Ghanaian adolescent girls. She has previously been involved in the Chrysalis journal and Borderless World Volunteers. Her interests include women's health, sustainable development and health policy.
Bea Lehmann, BA, MSc Student, UBC School of Population and Public Health
Bea obtained her BA at McGill in Spring 2021, studying International Development and Health Geography. She is currently completing her MSc in Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. Bea was a 2020 Global Health Scholar, funded through the Leduc, Davis, Brun & DeRito Undergraduate Award for Global Health. She worked with Dr. Marquis and Mona Ghadirian on the project Evaluating a participatory video education model on nutrition literacy with adolescent girls in rural Ghana. She also presented research on the perceptions of anemia amongst adolescents in the Upper Manya Krobo region at the 2020 McGill Global Health Night. Her research is now focused on how structural inequities, in particular housing, affect health service access and substance use.