Christine Mulligan, Nutritional Sciences

Student Name: Christine Mulligan
Department: Department of Nutritional Sciences
Research Title: Examining the nutritional quality of foods and beverages with on-package marketing to children in Canada.
Supervisor: Dr. Mary L'Abbé

Current Research: The overall goal of Dr. L’Abbé’s research program is to provide an evidence base to support sound public health nutrition policy in areas such as health claims on foods, front-of-pack labelling, children’s marketing on foods, nutritional quality of packaged and restaurant foods, menu labelling, food fortification, food-like natural health products, trans fat, sodium, and sugar.

Why Did you Choose this Department: I’ve always been interested in various aspects of nutrition and health, but what really drew me to the Department of Nutritional Sciences was the vast range of topics and areas being investigated by different groups in the Department. This provided me with the opportunity to really zone in on my own personal interests, which landed me in the L’Abbé Lab, researching food and nutrition policy. 

How was Your Experience Looking for a Research Opportunity: Once I decided to pursue research in the field of nutrition, I began to read up on the different projects that were ongoing in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, and reached out to potential supervisors that caught my eye. From there, all of the different Professors that I spoke to were very welcoming and helpful, and made it a very positive experience for me to find an area for me to begin research. 

When did you start your research experience: My experience began when I decided to take a third year research project course (NFS394). From there I continued into the Undergraduate Summer Research Program, and into a fourth year undergraduate project (NFS494). Now, this September I will start my MSc in Nutritional Sciences. I guess you could say I got hooked!

Why did you choose this supervisor: I knew from the beginning that the clinical/basic science side of research was not for me, and that I most of my interests fell into areas related to nutrition and public health policy. When I came across Dr. L’Abbé’s research, I was immediately excited by the broad spectrum of topics her group was researching, and figured that I could find a project there. After meeting Dr. L’Abbé and discussing the opportunities I would have with her group, I knew that this was where I wanted to be - and still want to be, almost 2 years later!

What’s your experience with research: Research definitely hasn’t been easy, and more often than not, things absolutely do not go as planned, but overall I have loved my experience. I really enjoy the problem solving aspects of research, and it feels great to be able to share the projects I’ve been working on with other people in the field. Once you begin in research, you really realize how little you know, and how much there is to learn. But at the same time you are now surrounded by peers who are willing to share their knowledge and help you along the way. I feel like I have learned so much in the past 2 years, and I can’t wait to keep learning. 

How’s the Social Experience with Research: Through research I have met a number of incredible people, and have been connected with others who share my same interests. Within the L’Abbé Lab group especially, I am surrounded by an amazing group of women that I would not have met had it not been for research!

Future Career Plans: For now, my only firm plans are to start my Master’s in September, but from there, I plan on waiting to see where my work takes me, and what opportunities may arise from it.

Quote: So it goes. 

One Advice/Tip: Never stop asking questions, and if no one can tell you the answer, don’t be afraid to go find the answer yourself.