UPEI names new Jeanne and J.-Louis Lévesque Research Professors in Nutrisciences and Health

Professorships are supported by the family of the late J.-Louis Levesque, a 1934 graduate of Saint Dunstan’s University
| Research
Three head shots of professors. Two on the left are men, the one on the right is a woman.
Dr. Ali Ahmadi, Dr. Adam Johnston, Dr. Misty Rossiter

The University of Prince Edward Island has named three of faculty members as the recipients of the Jeanne and J.-Louis Lévesque Research Professorships in Nutrisciences and Health. Each professorship will be supported over the next three years with an annual grant of $10,000 and up to $25,000 to permit replacement for teaching or other duties. Congratulations to Dr. Ali Ahmadi, associate professor in the Faculty of Sustainable Design Engineering; Dr. Misty Rossiter, associate professor of Foods and Nutrition; and Dr. Adam Johnston, associate professor of Kinesiology.

“These are three exceptional scientists already making a difference in their respective fields,” said Dr. Katherine Gottschall-Pass, interim vice-president academic and research at UPEI. “These professorships come with two important components to help our researchers take their work even further: course release to give them more time dedicated to research, and funding to support the purchase of materials, hire student lab assistants, etc. We are extremely grateful to the Fondation J-Louis Lévesque for this support.”

As a Jeanne and J.-Louis Lévesque research professor, Dr. Ahmadi will develop and test technologies for in situ cultivation of gastrointestinal bacteria for nutrisciences and health. It is anticipated that this will lead to the utilization of the gut microbiome for ultimately generating precision diets and interventions against disease for optimal health.

Dr. Rossiter’s research as a Jeanne and J.-Louis Lévesque research professor will involve creating a food and nutrient pattern for childcare settings, including best-practice recommendations relative to the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide. She will also assess the relationship between children’s self-regulation of eating and caregivers’ feeding practices across PEI. This work is important because the opportunity for nutrient adequacy early in life allows children to maximize their genetic potential and avoid chronic disease risk later in life. As well, understanding children’s self-regulation of eating is important because it reinforces reasons to eat that are related to appetite and hunger, factors that are the underpinning for life-long healthy development and weight status.  

Dr. Johnston’s research examines impaired wound healing associated with type II diabetes. As the disease progresses, a patient’s ability to heal from normally superficial wounds is severely lessened, impacting quality of life and creating a burden on the health care system. As a Jeanne and J.-Louis Lévesque research professor, Dr. Johnson will test newly identified compounds that have shown promise to aid in wound healing.

The professorships are supported by the Fondation J-Louis Lévesque, a generous supporter of health research at universities and institutes across the country. J.-Louis Lévesque graduated from Saint Dunstan’s University—one of UPEI’s founding institutions—in 1934 and was awarded an honorary doctor of laws in 1964. Suzanne Lévesque, daughter of J.-Louis Lévesque and president and CEO of his namesake foundation, was awarded an honorary doctor of laws from UPEI in 2006.

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