Students in Global Food Security

On this page: PhD Candidates  |  MSc Candidates  |  Former Students

PhD Candidates

Farzaneh Barak

PhD candidate (Human Nutrition)
Household decision-making in nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions (NSAI) and its effect on maternal and child nutritional status and household food security in Zambia

Farzaneh comes from Iran and holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran. Her research project was a nutritional epidemiology study among 600 Iranian female nurses aimed to investigate the relationship between the Adherence to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and insulin resistance and endothelial dysfunction. The results were published in four papers and a poster.  She has also worked as a therapeutic dietitian and community nutritionist for five years and has experience of coordination, implementation, and monitoring several community nutrition programs in Iran. For her doctoral research, Farzaneh is a part of two research projects in collaboration with CARE Canada and sponsored by Global Affairs Canada, which are taking place in four African countries with the aim of improving the nutritional status of women and children under five years old. Her current research involves an impact evaluation of nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions (NSAI). More specifically, she is interested in developing a detailed understanding of households' decision-making process and its effect on the success of NSAI to tackle food insecurity. Her research interests are impact and process evaluation of nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions, households’ decision-making determinants, and women decision-making autonomy in the context of food security. 

Awards: Dietetics and Human Nutrition Award received from School of Human Nutrition (2016) and Graduate Award Program (GAP) received from McGill Institute for Health and Social Policy

Loloah Chamoun

PhD candidate (Human Nutrition)
Evaluating the effectiveness of a palm weevil larvae fortification-based school feeding program intervention on the prevalence of iron-deficiency anemia among school-aged children in Ghana.

Loloah holds a Bachelor’s of Science with distinction in Food Chemistry from McGill University, as well as a Master’s of Science in Public and Environmental Health, with a specialization in Toxicology and Risk Analysis from Université de Montréal. Her Master’s project focused on prioritizing the most hazardous pesticides for biological monitoring in agricultural sectors in a Northern-African country, through the establishment of a hazard index. Loloah led McGill’s team which earned place at the “Developing Solutions for Developing Countries” competition in Chicago in 2015. Her team developed an instant hummus mix that incorporated insects and served to alleviate malnutrition among Syrian Refugees. After having been exposed to the issues related to food assistance and nutrition in emergencies, Loloah became passionate about developing innovative, sustainable and climate-smart technologies that will help fight malnutrition and food insecurity while adapting to climate change. She started her PhD at McGill in Human Nutrition last January 2018, and her research will aim to assess the effectiveness of entomophagy on reducing the prevalence of anemia in children.

Awards: McGill Young Alumni Distinguished Award, Dobson Cup Award, IFT Travel Awards, Bieler Internship Award, McGill J W McConnel Scholarship.

Julien Malard

PhD candidate (Integrated Water Resources Management)
System Dynamics Modelling of Food Insecurity in Guatemala

Julien's research centres on the use of participatory modelling to assess agricultural development sustainability, on the development of agro-ecological simulation models for integrated pest management design, and on analysing the interactions between these two spheres. This research (in partnership with IARNA, Universidad Rafael Landívar) includes two case studies of agricultural development, one sufficiency-based and one market-based, in rural indigenous Guatemala (K'iche' and Tz'olöj Ya'), as well as fieldwork on integrated pest management conducted at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University.

Nnedi Nnedimma

PhD candidate (Human Nutrition)
Post-harvest technologies and food security in four Sub-Saharan African countries

Nnedimma holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and a M.Sc. in Food Processing and Engineering from McGill University. During her Masters, she studied the thermostability of cassava linamarase as influenced by temperature and heating time. The results were disseminated in two oral presentations in Halifax, Canada, and Cape Town, South Africa. She also worked as a consultant with Micronutrient Initiative, and a community activist with Justice Alimentaire Montreal (JAM). In this capacity, she co-supervised two groups of graduating undergraduate students in the McGill School of Environment (MSE) as they conducted research on urban food systems in Montreal.  For her doctoral research, Nnedimma, is part of two research projects in collaboration with CARE Canada and with funding from Global Affairs Canada, taking place in Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The specific aim of these projects is to improve the nutrition status of women of reproductive age and children under five years old. Specifically, her research will focus on the gender dynamics of post-harvest management and its effects on food security and women’s dietary diversity. She is also investigating the suitability of spent grain for oyster mushroom cultivation. Additionally, she will study the influence of different growth substrates and UV exposure on the vitamin A and vitamin D content of these mushrooms.  

Hussain Qazaq

PhD candidate (Human Nutrition)

Hussain pursued his BSc in Public Health/ Nutrition from Yarmouk University and completed his MSc in Human Nutrition from the University of Jordan, Jordan.  His Mater project was about the effect of dietary counseling and iron supplementation on growth and nutrition iron status in a sample of exclusively breastfed Jordanian infants from four to six months of age. During his work in the Department of Maternity and Child Health in Jordan, he prepared the proposal for flour fortification with Iron and Folic acid at the national level in collaboration with World Health Organization and participated in the strategic implementation and results evaluation of Locational Amenoria Method (LAM) as a child spacing method in collaboration with School of Medicine/ G. Washington University/ UAS. He has many publications about nutrition and health among school children, pregnant women and elderly during his work in the United Arab Emirates. In his PhD study, Hussain will explore the quality of the diet of obese food-insecure children aiming at drawing suggestions and evidence-based recommendations to rectify their food security status that will be reflected on their health and wellb-eing. He has many publications about nutrition and health among school children, pregnant women and elderly during his work in the United Arab Emirates.

Luisa Samayoa Figueroa

PhD candidate (Human Nutrition)
A youth-led counseling model to improve nutrition and development in children under two years of age in rural Guatemala

Luisa holds a B. Sc. in Human Nutrition from San Francisco de Quito University in Ecuador (1998) and a Master in Development Studies from Del Valle University in Guatemala (2006). She worked at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama –(INCAP) in Guatemala from 2000 to 2004. From 2005 she worked for 12 years as a Food Security and Nutrition consultant in the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Guatemala office, supporting the rural development, agriculture and food and nutrition security projects to incorporate nutrition-sensitive activities and include indicators to measure it. She also worked for one year with the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance (FANTA) Project III/FHI360 in Guatemala, specifically in a project intended to validate a series of food-based recommendations for woman and children in the highlands of Guatemala. Her experience has been in Food Security, Nutrition and monitoring and evaluation.

Luisa’s doctoral research is part of a collaborative alliance with the international humanitarian organization Action Against Hunger (ACF) in Guatemala in a Grand Challenge Canada Project, under the Saving Brains program. The project “Youth in action: developing a counselling system/model led by Chortí Maya youth to improve maternal and child health in communities of the municipality of Jocotan, department of Chiquimula” is being implemented in Guatemala. The expected impact of this project is that children under two years of age will be more likely to achieve their potential for growth and development due to their family’s increased access to appropriate counselling, with messages that are adapted to their practices and culture, without stigma, and which will reclaim ancestral knowledge and support practices for positive deviance. To do so, she will be using a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Her research interests include stunting, and infant and young child feeding practices, in the context of high levels of malnutrition and food insecurity.

Awards: NUFFIC Scholarship to attend the Training Program on Food and Nutrition Security in Wageningen, the Netherlands. Diploma with honours.

Akankasha Sen

PhD candidate (Human Nutrition)
MSc: Dietary Diversity and Child Nutritional Status in Malawi

Akankasha holds Master’s degree in Biological Anthropology from Panjab University India, where she assessed the nutritional and growth status of adolescent girls in the high altitude village of the Himalaya. She works as junior research assistant in Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research Chandigarh, (PGIMER) India, in pediatrics department, where she gained the knowledge of child growth, maturation, anthropometry and nutrition. Her research interest involves the nutritional anthropology which the interplay between human biology, cultural beliefs, nutritional status and food security, and how changes in the former affect the latter. In her second Master’s degree she is contributing in GROW and SANI research projects which are conducting in four African countries (Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia), in collaboration with CARE Canada. Assessing food insecurity is important part of Growing Nutrition for Mothers and Children (GROW) and South Africa Nutrition Initiative (SANI) project. Therefore, using the data from these projects she is estimating the reliability and validity of recent developed tool called Food Insecurity Experiences Scale (FIES) developed by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization Voices of the Hungry project (FAO-VOH). The objectives of her study were to assess the psychometric properties of FIES for measuring food security by using the with Item Response Theory (Rasch molding) and examines the prevalence of food insecurity (FI) in women.

Kate Sinclair

PhD candidate (Human Nutrition)
Exploring Issues Related to Food Insecurity and Women's Autonomy in Colombia
MSc: Food Security and Livestock Diversity in Small Farmers in Haiti

Kate received her Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from McGill University in 2014. Her M.Sc. research focused on the relationship between livestock possession and food security among smallholder farmers in Haiti. She holds a B.Sc. in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from Ryerson University and is a Registered Dietitian with the Ordre professionnel des diététistes du Québec (OPDQ). Kate’s doctoral research is part of a larger IDRC funded project entitled “Scaling-up synergetic strategies in agriculture and nutrition for food security in rural communities of Colombia”. The goal of the project is to scale up the adoption of improved potato varieties with high nutritional qualities for Colombian consumers and potato producers in an operational strategy that links agriculture to nutrition. Her current research aims to explore issues related to food insecurity and women’s autonomy in Colombia. In order to do so she will be using a mix of quantitative and qualitative research methods. Her research interests include project evaluation and women’s empowerment in the context of food security.

Awards: IDRC Doctoral Award, IICA Research and Internship Assistance Program, Walter M. Stewart Postgraduate Scholarship in Agriculture, Canadian Home Economics Association Fellowship, McGill Graduate Excellence Award and McGill Graduate Mobility Award.

Pauley Tedoff

PhD candidate (Epidemiology)
The Effect of Gender Equity on Food Security and Nutrition Status of Women and Children under Five in Four Countries in Southern Africa

Pauley holds a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and a Master's of Science in Environmental Health and has worked in the overarching field of international development since 2006. In 2009, after several years designing and implementing social inclusion programs in low-income countries, Pauley formally transitioned to the global health sector. She has worked for various ministries of health, intergovernmental organizations, international NGOs, and academic institutions in North America, South America, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her desire to conduct mixed methods research that has implications for both public health and the natural environment led her to seek out opportunities at the Institute for Global Food Security. For her doctoral research, Pauley is thrilled to be working with the Institute on its collaboration with CARE Canada, implementing a four-county study in Southern Africa. More specifically, her analysis will apply advanced psychometric methods to elucidate the complex interrelations between social determinants, food security status, and nutrition status of children under five and their mothers. 

MSc Candidates

Tasnim Abdi

MSc candidate (Human Nutrition)
Food insecurity in Ethiopian households

Tasnim Abdi is a Master’s student in Human Nutrition. She holds an undergraduate degree in Nutritional Sciences with a specialization in Global Nutrition from McGill University. She was previously a research assistant examining the literature on the health and socio-economic outcomes of different refugee groups in Canada. Her research interests include examining the role of gender in food security through a multidisciplinary focus.

Luna R. M. de Sousa

MSc candidate (Human Nutrition)
Food security status in times of financial and political crisis in Brazil

Luna holds a Bachelor's degree in Nutrition from the Federal University of Parana (Brazil), where she specialized in Primary Health Care and Public Health Management. From 2013 to 2017 she worked in the field of Public Health Care, first as a community nutritionist and after as a public health manager, in Brazil. For her Masters research, Luna is addressing the food security status in Brazil and its associations with health perception and well-being during the country`s financial and political crisis. Her research interests involve food security and public health policies, impacts of food insecurity on health status, and food security in Latin America.

Awards: First Class Honors Degree in B.Sc. in Nutrition received from Federal University of Parana in 2012; Honorable Mention Award for the work "Contributions of the Residency Program in Family Health on educational activities in Colombo, Parana" at the “State Public Health Seminar” in 2014.

Narges Ebadi

MSc candidate (Human Nutrition)
Remittances and Food Security: A study of the Global South

Narges holds a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science from Iran University of Medical Sciences, Iran, Tehran. Narges is a master’s student in Human Nutrition. Her research interest includes investigating the association between receiving remittances and food security status in the Global South.


Jae Yeon Park

MSc candidate (Human Nutrition)
Food security in Elderly Populations in Industrialized Countries

Jae is a MSc student in Human Nutrition at McGill University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Plant Bioscience from Kyungpook National University in South Korea. Her previous project was about functional analysis of molecular mechanism related to environmental stresses. Currently, she is studying under supervision of Dr Melgar-Quiñonez focusing on the recent trends in social structure influencing food insecurity in vulnerable populations. Through this research, she aims to understand the demographic and socioeconomic factors affecting the individual level of food insecurity. And furthermore, she is also interested in researching the relationship between international agri-food system and global food security.

Rosa Elena Ponce Alcalá

MSc candidate (Human Nutrition)
Food Security in Mexico

Elena holds a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition from the “Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro” (Mexico). From 2012 to 2013 she carried out her social service through FAO in PSAZR “Proyecto de Seguridad Alimentaria para Zonas Rurales”- Food Security Project for Rural Areas (Formerly PESA “Proyecto Estratégico de Seguridad Alimentaria” - Strategical Project for Food Security) in high marginalized communities in Mexico. She continued working on the same project for five years in different states of her country as facilitator specialist on nutrition and also as coordinator on the rural development agencies that carries out this program. Her research interests include the link between food security situation and chronic diseases related to diet, and food and nutritional security policies and interventions.

Ana María Sansón

MSc candidate (Human Nutrition)
The relationship between malnutrition in vulnerable children, the gut microbiota and possible interventions needed in food security programs

Ana María Sansón has a bachelor degree in Nutrition and Dietetic from the Pontificia Univiersidad Javeriana- Colombia and a graduate degree in Project Management from Universidad del Cauca- Colombia. Her professional career started in Pasto (Colombia), in the public health field with the implementation of programs and plans liketheMunicipality’s Nutritional And Food Security Plan, the National Program for the Prevention and Reduction of Nutritional Anemia and the Low Birth Weight Prevention Program. She started her Masters degree in September 2018, and her research project will focus on characterizing the relationship between malnutrition in vulnerable children, the gut microbiota and possible interventions needed in food security programs.

Former Students

Ekta Amarnani: Food Insecurity among Rural Youth

Anh Bui: Food Insecurity among Immigrant Populations in Canada

Elizabeth Graham: Gender disparities in perceived life satisfaction within food insecure populations

Gabrielle Helal: Food Security and Corruption

Meghan Miller: Food security & social support: exploring relationships between social resources & access to adequate food

Stephanie Trempe: Alternative local feed options for Black Belly Sheep in Barbados