Shannan Grant, Nutritional Sciences
Student's Name: Shannan Grant, RD/ PDt, MSc, PhD
PhD Supervisor: Thomas M.S. Wolever, DM, PhD
Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto
Physician, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital
President, Glycemic Index Laboratories
PhD Thesis Title: Assessing Glycaemic Index Utility: From Bench to Bedside
PhD Overview: Glycaemic index (GI) categorizes carbohydrate-containing food according to postprandial glycaemic effect. The Canadian Diabetes Association (now called Diabetes Canada) supports integration of GI-education into standard care for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The overall purpose of Shannan’s dissertation was to address, experimentally, gaps in the literature, highlighted by educators as barriers to GI-utility. Three studies were completed over a five year period. Study one examined the effect of slowing carbohydrate absorption on postprandial oxidative stress (novel GI-mechanism) in overweight/obese participants (n=18). Study two involved the development and evaluation of a questionnaire designed to evaluate an evidence-based GI-education platform for DM (n = 29), using a one-armed pre/post-intervention pre-test design. Study three (randomized control trial; n=99) was performed to evaluate the effect of the low GI-education platform on glycaemic control in women with GDM using the questionnaire pre-tested in study two.
PhD Research, Scholarship/ Awards, Publications, Current position, Future education plans and/or career goals:
Shannan’s PhD is an example of integrative knowledge translation (KT). She, her committee, and collaborators incorporated designs and methodology falling along the basic to applied nutritional science continuum while she supported educators/ clinicians in answering client-focused questions. As a Registered Dietitian, Education Developer and Scientist, Shannan is supportive of Goering and Wasylenki (1993) that highlighted when Scientists can assume multiple roles (e.g. Scientist and Clinician/ knowledge user), the gap between science and practice is reduced.
Shannan has been the recipient of a number of academic and professional awards and has successfully obtained funding for her current research. Awards she received during her studies include: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Canadian Graduate Scholarship (Doctoral Program), NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship (Master’s Program), NSERC Undergraduate Award, Danone Doctoral Student Awards in Nutrition Education and Communication (Declined), and the Elizabeth Feniak Award for Technical Writing, Canadian Home Economics Foundation. The grants she obtained during her graduate work include: Danone Grant-in-aid Program Award, Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research (CFDR) Grant, and Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Community Support Program Grant.
Shannan is currently a full-time Assistant Professor within the Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Mount Saint Vincent University (MSVU), in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Shannan is also a Faculty member at York University’s Health Coach Institute. Her research program continues to focus on KT, chronic disease prevention and management and education development with a focus on populations at high risk for T2DM and cardiovascular disease. Her work also includes examination of medical nutrition therapy of Inflammatory Bowel Disease and infant feeding practices in clinical settings. She is also involved in a number of service activities including: Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Atlantic, Science Atlantic, Canadian Obesity Network Halifax Chapter Executive, Nova Scotia Breastfeeding Community of Practice, Canadian Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Community of Practice (KTECOP) and Nova Scotia Dietetic Association Board of Directors.
Shannan has published a number of academic and clinical articles, but her most recent end-of-grant dissemination activities include creation of an online course for diabetes educators on GI in partnership with Dietitians of Canada and updating the GI education materials offered through Diabetes Canada. For more on these activities or to assess if you would like to complete the online course, please click on the link
Shannan plans to build a long-term career at MSVU and is a proud member of the Department of Applied Nutrition. She is honoured to have the opportunity to give back to the province that she was born and raised in and hopes to inspire others to consider a career in nutritional science and the various basic sciences that make it up.