Julia Hatherell, MSc

Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
University of Guelph

Investigating the association between dietary and plasma retinoids and fatty acid desaturase indices

Alterations in fatty acid desaturase indices (product-to-precursor ratios that estimate desaturase activities) have been associated with cancer and cardiovascular disease, and have been positioned as potential predictors of type 2 diabetes and cardiometabolic disease risk. Investigating dietary and non-dietary factors that regulate desaturase activities can help advance understanding of disease development and/or risk. One such dietary factor is vitamin A, which has been shown to alter desaturase expression and activity in rodents. Using cross-sectional data from the Toronto Nutrigenomics and Health study, this presentation will discuss the associations between dietary retinoid intakes, plasma retinoid concentrations, and desaturase indices in young adults. Due to their known influence on plasma retinol concentrations and desaturase indices, both biological sex and estrogen-containing contraceptive use will also be considered.

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Julia recently graduated with a Master of Science in Human Health & Nutritional Sciences from the University of Guelph, Canada (2022). Prior to that, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science, with a minor in Nutritional & Nutraceutical Sciences and a certificate in Business (2020). Her Master’s research explored the association between vitamin A (dietary intake & plasma concentrations) and fatty acid metabolism (via desaturase indices). With a passion for science communication, she also dabbled in biology curriculum analysis & design during her MSc studies and currently works in healthcare learning & marketing strategy at Metrix Group (Toronto).