Nutrition Outcomes Unit for Research…ish 

(the ‘ish’ is because we do non-nutrition research too)

We are a medical research group that studies the prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic diseases using epidemiological and clinical patient-oriented research methods.  

Many of our Nourish Team members in autumn 2023

Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada at Dalhousie University and the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre (Nova Scotia Health), we are led by Dr. Leah Cahill.


Our Rationale: The costs of cardiometabolic disease (i.e. heart disease and type 2 diabetes) are staggering, in terms of both healthcare expenditures and quality of life. Our work aims to identify the optimal factors (social supports, lifestyle practices, biological pathways and proteins) that are important for the prevention and treatment of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and malnutrition, researching at both the patient and population levels. A ‘one size fits all’ approach to nutrition and medication does not always apply, and sometimes a personalized and patient-oriented approach is best. 

Our Methods: We use both quantitative (biostatistics) and qualitative research methods. We specialize in repeated measures time-varying analysis (long-term studies with data collected at multiple time periods also known as longitudinal datasets).  For example, we measure novel biomarkers in large-scale multi-centre studies to examine the biomarkers in relation to outcomes such as heart attack and stroke. We also work with many different nutrition assessment methods. Some of our projects include implementation science, where we study the systematic uptake of research findings as we implement new evidence-based practices into standard medical care, assessing the impact on the quality and effectiveness of health services. 

Our Values: Our three core values are innovation, excellence, and authenticity. To produce high quality work, our team strives to engage diverse perspectives and support an inclusive environment for learning and conducting research.

Katherine Eckert, Samiah Alam, Leah Cahill

Our Mission: To improve the nutritional status and overall health of people in both the prevention and treatment of disease. 

Our Logo: Historically in many cultures worldwide, the raspberry has symbolized love and 'matters of the heart'. The red juice of the raspberry was thought of as the blood running through the heart, where kindness originates. Each raspberry is made up of many drupelets clustering together, just as there are many important factors and social-structural positions (taste, culture, emotions, mental health, physical health, (dis)ability, economics, sex/gender, accessibility, systemic vulnerability, convenience, tradition, environment, genetics, and microbiology, to name a few) that together influence why people eat what they eat and how their cardiometabolic health may be influenced by their food. We incorporate these factors and their intersections into our research.

Our Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Research Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Health Research Fund, Dalhousie University’s Internal Medicine Research Fund (UIMRF), Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, Queen Elizabeth II Foundation.

Keywords: nutrition, biomarkers, foodwork, social determinants of health, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, metabolic disease, malnutrition, epidemiology, patient-oriented research, dietetics, risk factors, burden of disease.