Lawson Centre Series


Vivian Choo

Vivian Choo MSc, MD
Series Director
Family Physician, Women’s College Hospital, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Tristan Lawson Distinguished Fellow in Physician Professional Development in Child Nutrition

Dr. Vivian Choo is a Family Physician working at Women’s College Hospital. She completed her Master of Science degree in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, and her residency training as well as fellowship in education scholarship with the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine. She contributes to physician education work at the Joannah & Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition, where her primary interests are in the promotion and application of nutrition education in primary care for patients and providers. Vivian is also the Tristan Lawson Distinguished Fellow in Physician Professional Development in Child Nutrition.

Zhila Semnani-Azad

Zhila Semnani-Azad PhD
(Academic Speaker – Intermittent Fasting)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow,
Department of Nutrition,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Zhila Semnani-Azad is an epidemiologist and Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) funded research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her primary research interests focus on the metabolic complications of obesity and associated lifestyle factors, and its impact on cardiometabolic health. Her current work incorporates high-throughput –omics techniques, specifically metabolomics, into traditional epidemiological analyses to gain insights into underlying mechanisms that could explain the associations between obesity and cardiometabolic outcomes, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, across the lifecourse. She has additionally led several projects investigating dietary practices as it relates to cardiometabolic health. Most recently, she conducted a Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group (DNSG) commissioned systematic review and network meta-analysis evaluating the impact of intermittent fasting diet strategies on body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors in adults.

Amy Berger

Amy Berger MS, CNS
(Nutritionist – Keto / Low Carb Diets)
Tuit Nutrition, LLC, Lead Nutritionist, Adapt Your Life Academy

Amy Berger is a U.S. Air Force veteran and Certified Nutrition Specialist who helps people do “Keto Without the Crazy.” She writes about a wide range of health and nutrition-related topics, such as weight loss, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, thyroid function, and more. She has presented internationally on these issues and is the author of multiple books about low-carb and ketogenic diets. She contributed to the American Nutrition Association’s Ketogenic Nutrition Training Program and served on the BCNS exam review committee, which writes the credentialing board exam for Certified Nutrition Specialists.

Marsha Feldt

Marsha Feldt RD, CDE
Registered Dietitian, Sunnybrook Diabetes Education (SUNDEC)
Sunnybrook Academic Family Health Team

Marsha Feldt is a Registered Dietitian and certified diabetes educator with the Sunnybrook Diabetes Education Program (SUNDEC) and Sunnybrook Academic Family Team. She has a practice focus on adult diabetes management, in which she works together with clients helping them to live well with diabetes and conducts workshops on Healthy Eating: The Mediterranean Way.

Andrea Glenn

Andrea Glenn MSc, RD, PhD
(Dietitian Speaker – Plant Based Diets)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Registered Dietitian, Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Andrea Glenn is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-funded Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Registered Dietitian (RD) at the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. She received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto and completed her RD training at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. Her main research interests include addressing questions of public health and clinical importance in relation to plant-based dietary patterns and cardiometabolic disease risk. Dr. Glenn also has a variety of experience in coordinating clinical trials, developing knowledge translation tools for patients with cardiometabolic disease, mentoring students, and teaching.

Shannan Grant

Shannan Grant RD, MSc, PhD, Certified Yoga Instructor
(Dietitian Speaker – Low GI Diet)
Associate Professor and Registered Dietitian, Mount Saint Vincent University

Shannan Grant has ~20 years experience working with individuals, families, and communities in urban, rural, and remote settings, including hospitals, public health, industry, and research. She is passionate about person-centered education and co-creating relationships where co-learning is at the core of nutrition assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. Informed by and trained in several models of counseling, Shannan’s practice is best described as a combination of shared decision making, evidence-based medicine, acceptance therapy, risk reduction and body inclusivity. Shannan recognizes that change at all levels of society is necessary to achieve inclusive wellness and disease prevention for all but works with her clients to navigate the current food and nutrition environment NOW. She aims to arm her clients with evidence-based information and approaches, and the confidence and tools to make informed choice and advocate for themselves. Shannan is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Faculty of Professional Studies, Mount Saint Vincent University, an Affiliate Scientist at IWK Health (Obstetrics, Gynecology) and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University. She works part time at Dr. Lee-Baggley and Associates as a research consultant and provides one-on-one and group nutrition care. For more information, please check out her faculty page at:

David J.A. Jenkins

David J.A. Jenkins MD, D.Sc, PhD
(Academic Speaker – Low GI Diet)
Professor, Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine,
Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

David J.A. Jenkins is an University Professor, and a professor in the Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine, University of Toronto, a staff physician in the Division of Endocrinology, Director of the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Center, and a Scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital. He was educated at Oxford University. He has served on committees in Canada and the United States that formulated nutritional guidelines for the treatment of diabetes and recommendations for fiber and macronutrient intake under the joint US-Canada DRI system (RDAs) of the National Academy of Sciences. He also served as a member of Agriculture Canada’s Science Advisory Board (2004-2009) on the future direction of Canada’s agriculture and agricultural research. He has spent much time working with the food industry to develop products for the supermarket shelf and, for example, helped to initiate Loblaw’s (Canada’s largest supermarket chain) ‘Too Good To Be True’ and most recently their popular “Blue Menu” line of products (for cardiometabolic health). His research area is the use of diet in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and diabetes. He has over 400 original publications on these and related topics. His team was the first to define and explore the concept of the glycemic index of foods and demonstrate the breadth of metabolic effects of viscous soluble fiber, including blood glucose and cholesterol lowering. His group developed the cholesterol-lowering concept of the dietary portfolio that has entered guidelines in many jurisdictions (e.g. CCS, Heart UK etc.). He is co-chair of the International Carbohydrate Quality Consortium (ICQC) that promotes research and recommendations on the use of carbohydrate foods and their components. He believes in the therapeutic value of plant-based diets and their components and the diets that are advocated have to be environmentally sustainable and reduce the human footprint on the planet.

Joy Kiddie

Joy Kiddie MSc, RD
(Dietitian Speaker – Keto / Low Carb Diets)
Registered Dietitian, BetterByDesign Nutrition Ltd., former Post Graduate Researcher,
Department of Food Nutrition and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Joy Kiddie is a Registered Dietitian with a post-graduate degree in Human Nutrition who has been in private practice in British Columbia, Canada since 2008 ( She is licensed in several provinces, and her areas of expertise ranges from the routine, to the clinically complex. Joy’s passion is to help people to improve their physical and mental health by restoring their metabolic health. Joy uses a low carb and very low carb/ ketogenic approach, and in clinically complex cases (such as type 1 diabetes, epilepsy/seizure disorder) and when implemented for improved mental health for those taking psychiatric medications, Joy works in conjunction with people’s doctors who oversee their patient’s care, and monitor and adjust medications, as needed.

Abby Langer

Abby Langer RD
(Dietitian Speaker – Intermittent Fasting)
Registered Dietitian, Owner, Abby Langer Nutrition

Abby Langer R.D. has been a registered dietitian since 1999. She has worked in hospital, primary care, and homecare settings, and is no the owner of Abby Langer Nutrition, a nutrition consulting and communications company based in Toronto, Canada. Abby is the author of the best-selling book Good Food, Bad Diet, published by Simon and Schuster in 2021. She has been featured as an expert in outlets such as the New York Times, Forbes, CBC radio, and many others. Abby is also on the Men’s Health Magazine advisory board for nutrition. Abby served for three years on her regulatory college’s council and has won awards from the University of Toronto for her teaching. She is a true supporter of a permissive eating style and moving away from diet behaviour and culture and believes that having peace around food and eating is a key to living your best life.

David S. Ludwig

David S. Ludwig MD, PhD
(Academic Speaker – Keto / Low Carb Diets)
Professor, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School

David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD is an endocrinologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital. He holds the rank of Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. Dr Ludwig is founder of the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) program, one of the country’s oldest and largest multidisciplinary clinics for the care of overweight children. He co-directs the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

For more than 25 years, Dr. Ludwig has studied the effects of diet on metabolism, body weight, and risk for chronic disease – with a special focus on low-glycemic index, low-carbohydrate, and ketogenic diets. He has made major contributions to development of the “carbohydrate-insulin model,” an alternative perspective on the pathogenesis of obesity. In addition, he conducted some of the original studies linking sugar-sweetened beverages and fast food to obesity. Described as an “obesity warrior” by Time Magazine, Dr. Ludwig has fought for fundamental policy changes to improve the food environment.

Dr. Ludwig received the E.V. McCollum Award (2008) of the American Society for Nutrition, the Oded Bar-Or Award (2015) of The Obesity Society, and the Samuel J. Fomon Nutrition Award of the American Academy of Pediatrics (2019). He has been Principal Investigator on numerous grants with 20+ years of NIH funding and has raised over $50 million in philanthropic support. He coauthored over 250 scientific articles, many in the world’s leading medical and scientific journals. He was a Contributing Writer for JAMA and presently serves as associate editor at American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. He has written 3 books for the public, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently (Grand Central Publishing, 2016). He appears frequently in national and international print and broadcast media.

Stephanie Nishi

Stephanie Nishi PhD, RD
(Academic Speaker – Mediterranean Diet)
Registered Dietitian, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Departament de Bioquímica i Biotecnologia, Unitat de Nutrició Humana, Grup Alimentació, Nutrició, Desenvolupament i Salut Mental

Stephanie Nishi is a Professor Ad Honorem with the Unitat de Nutrició Humana, Departament de Bioquímica i Biotecnologia at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de la Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición (CIBERobn), and Insitut d´Investigació Sanitària Pere Virgili (IISPV), in Spain. She was previously a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) postdoctoral researcher with this same team. Stephanie earned her PhD from the Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, and previously earned a combined MSc and RD in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Toronto and St. Michael´s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto in Canada. Her research has focused on chronic disease prevention from a nutritional perspective using systematic reviews and meta-analyses, epidemiological, and randomized controlled trial methodology. Her ongoing research assesses cognitive health within the framework of the multicentre PREDIMED-Plus study. Concurrently, Stephanie has worked as a dietitian and clinical trials coordinator on international research trials with the Diabetes Heart Research Centre, as an educator at George Brown College with the Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts (CHCA), and as an evidence analyst and science communicator with Practice-based Evidence in Nutrition (PEN) – The Global Resource for Nutrition Practice. Stephanie has worked to support evidence-based practice and knowledge dissemination with the goal of informing dietetic practice, public health policy, and nutrition guidelines through her research, teaching, and clinical practice.

John Sievenpiper

John Sievenpiper MD, PhD, FRCPC
(Academic Speaker – Plant Based Diets)
Professor, Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Staff Physician, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Department of Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital
Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Sievenpiper is a Clinician Scientist who holds appointments as a Professor in the Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine and the Lifestyle Medicine Lead in the MD Program at the University of Toronto. He is also a Staff Physician in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism, Lead of the Toronto 3D Knowledge Synthesis and Clinical Trials Unit, and Scientist in the La Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Sievenpiper completed his MSc, PhD and Postdoctoral Fellowship training in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. He completed his MD at St. Matthew’s University followed by Residency training in Medical Biochemistry at McMaster University leading to his certification as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada (FRCPC). He has established an internationally recognized research program focused on using randomized controlled trials and epidemiological approaches to address questions of clinical and public health importance in relation to diet and cardiometabolic disease prevention with a particular interest in the role of sugars, carbohydrate quality, and plant-based dietary patterns. He is directly involved in knowledge translation with appointments to the nutrition guidelines’ committees of Diabetes Canada, European Association for the study of Diabetes (EASD), Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS), and Obesity Canada. He is the recipient of numerous awards including an Insulin 100 Emerging Leader Award, Khursheed Jeejeebhoy Award, CNS Young Investigator Award, PSI Foundation Graham Farquharson Knowledge Translation Fellowship, Diabetes Canada Clinician Scientist Award, Banting & Best Diabetes Centre Sun Life Financial New Investigator Award, and CIHR-INMD/CNS–New Investigator Partnership Prize. He has authored > 250 scientific papers and 17 book chapters.