Student’s full name: Danielle Lee
Current position: First-year MSc graduate student in the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Nutritional Sciences
Supervisor’s full name and title: Dr. John Sievenpiper, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Research: I did research as a 4th year undergraduate student in the NFS494Y Undergraduate Research in Nutritional Sciences course with Dr. Sievenpiper. My project was to determine the effect of important food sources of fructose-containing sugars on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials. I have received awards for my work including the UofT Libraries Research Prize and Toronto 3D Summer Scholarship at St. Michael’s Hospital. After completing my undergraduate degree, I wanted to delve further into this topic and decided to pursue an MSc in Nutritional Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Sievenpiper. This was all the more encouraging as I also received the M. Doreen Smith-van Der Voort Graduation Scholarship for being a top student within the UofT DNS who was continuing into the DNS graduate program at UofT.
MSc research thesis is still on the topic of determining the effects of fructose-containing sugars on NAFLD. To address this, I am conducting two projects: (1) a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials, and (2) a sub-study from the STOP SUGARS NOW clinical trial, which looks at the effects of pop, diet pop, and water on NAFLD markers including liver fat, and the liver enzymes ALT and AST.
I am also working on some side projects in our lab - I am conducting systematic reviews and meta-analyses on (1) the effects of fructose-containing sugars and cardiometabolic health outcomes (e.g. adiposity, blood lipids, and inflammation), and (2) to determine the effects of a low glycemic index/glycemic load diet on major cardiometabolic health outcomes for diabetes patients, which is in the process of becoming a publishable manuscript.
Scholarships and awards
Academic merit-based awards: M. Doreen Smith-van Der Voort Graduation Scholarship; Toronto 3D Summer Scholarship (St. Michael’s Hospital); University of Toronto Libraries Undergraduate Research Prize; Woodsworth College Scholarship; Sir Daniel Wilson Award in Science; Dean’s List
Service and community-based awards: Gordon Cressy Student Leadership Award; J.S. Woodsworth Service Award
In my spare time, during my undergrad, I was involved in the Woodsworth College Students’ Association as an Off-Campus Students’ Director to serve and advocate for Woodsworth commuter students (e.g. making pancakes every Wednesday), volunteered at SickKids hospital, and mentored students. I believe these were vital in my overall success during undergrad, and were likely the reasons I received the service awards listed above.
I am currently involved with the Nutritional Sciences Gradaute Students’ Association as a Social Representative, am a teaching assistant for NFS302H, and continue volunteering at SickKids.
Future education plans or career goals: To pursue medicine once I graduate from my MSc. I would love to work in a field that heavily ties health with nutrition.