Colleen Farrell, Nutritional Sciences

Colleen FarrellColleen Farrell Year of Study: First year
Student’s Name: Colleen Farrell

Graduate Department: Department of Nutritional Science
Country of Residence: Canada

Why Faculty of Medicine:
As a globally recognized university with an unparalleled reputation in life science and biomedical research, the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto was an obvious choice for me to pursue my graduate studies in my career as a Registered Dietitian. I was drawn to the diversity of research conducted within the Faculty of Medicine as it allows students to explore niche areas of science that deeply captivate them and provides invaluable opportunities to collaborate with leading-edge research teams and hospitals. 

Why this Department:
I knew I wanted to take more of a basic science approach in my Master’s, and the research within the Department of Nutritional Science provided me with the opportunity to not only explore this new and exciting path but utilize and enhance my skills and knowledge in applied human nutrition developed in my undergrad and dietetic training. The diversity of nutrition research within the department ranges from molecular nutrition, the gut microbiome, to public health (just to name a few) – so there is something for nearly anyone with a keen interest in nutrition! The department is a tight-knit community of 50+ innovative scientists, clinicians, and leaders in nutrition that truly want to support you in your journey as a skilled nutrition researcher, and I truly feel I can make a meaningful contribution to the field.

Current Research Experience:
It is well known that the vitamin folate is absorbed in the small intestine, however, recent evidence suggests that the large intestine may also play a role in absorption. My Master’s research aims to identify major folate transporters and enzymes within the large intestine using human tissue biopsies and assess how a standard 400 mcg folic acid supplement affects the regulation and expression of the mRNA transcripts and proteins of the colonic transporters and enzymes.

Future Education Plans and/or Career Goals:
As a Registered Dietitian, I base my clinical nutrition care decisions on evidence-based research. I am incredibly passionate about dietetics; therefore, my primary professional goal is to advance the practice by contributing to nutrition or public health research while working in an acute or intensive care setting in a research/teaching hospital.

Contact Ambassador Colleen Farrell