Wendy E. Ward, PhD

Professor, Kinesiology (primary) & Health Sciences
Canada Research Chair in Bone and Muscle Development

Office: CRN422
905 688 5550 x3024

Within the Nutrition, Bone and Oral Health Research Group, her team’s overall research goal is to develop dietary strategies that help protect against osteoporosis, and to also understand how diet can be used to promote periodontal health. Using advanced imaging, biomechanical strength testing and biochemical analyses the team investigates how calcium and vitamin D, as well as novel foods and food components including flaxseed and its omega-3 fatty acid, fish oil, flavonoids in tea and citrus, and soy and its isoflavones impact bone health using preclinical models. Sex-specific responses are studied within these studies. These projects are funded by major government granting agencies (NSERC, CIHR, CFI). Clinical studies investigate how diet is associated with better periodontal health and healing outcomes after periodontal procedures.

Current research interests involve humans or experimental models to investigate the following areas:

  • The mechanisms by which foods or bioactives – including flavonoids present in tea or dietary estrogens such as flaxseed lignans or soy isoflavones, or specific fatty acids – modulate bone metabolism during aging
  • How foods or food components promote oral health and healing after periodontal procedures
  • Nutritional Programming: Understanding how early diet – including soy isoflavones, folic acid, vitamin D and protein – favourably programs bone and muscle metabolism
  • Gut-Bone Axis: How the gut associated microbial community or the molecules they synthesize modulate bone health (in collaboration with E. Comelli, University of Toronto)
  • I am actively involved in knowledge translation activities for health professionals and lay audiences on topics related to nutrition and issues relating to oral health and/or women’s health
  • Editor in Chief, Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism (journal of the Canadian Nutrition Society and Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology)
  • Chair, Diet Working Group, for the Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Osteoporosis in Canada
  • Chair, Research Committee and Member, Scientific Advisory Council, Osteoporosis Canada
  • Member, Education Committee, Canadian Nutrition Society

Dr. Ward’s team has published many peer-reviewed articles, invited reviews and book chapters on the topic of nutrition and health, with particular emphasis on the use of nutritional interventions to support both bone and periodontal health.

Trainees at all levels are actively involved in the research program and are integral to its success (denoted by *).


GROUPED BY TOPIC, from 2015 to present


*Cleverdon RE, *McAlpine MD, Ward WE. Black tea exhibits a dose-dependent response in Saos-2 cell mineralization. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2020; in press.

*McAlpine MD, *Gittings W, MacNeil AJ, Ward WE. Red rooibos tea stimulates osteoblast mineralization in a dose-dependent manner. Beverages. 2019; in press.

*Cleverdon R, *Elhalaby Y, *McAlpine MD, *Gittings W, Ward WE. Total polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity of tea bags: comparison of black, green, red rooibos, chamomile and peppermint over different steep times. Beverages, 4(1):15, 2018.

*Longo AB, Sullivan PJ, Peters SJ, LeBlanc PJ, Wohl GR, Ward WE. Lifelong intake of flaxseed or menhaden oil provide varying n-6 to n-3 PUFA ratios modulate bone microarchitecture during growth, but not after OVX in Sprague-Dawley rats. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 61(8), 2017.

*Longo AB, Ward WE.  Providing flaxseed oil but not menhaden oil protects against ovariectomy-induced bone loss in the mandible of Sprague-Dawley rats. Nutrients. 8(10):E597, 2016.

*McAlpine MD, Ward WE. Influence of steep time on polyphenol content and antioxidant activity of black, green, rooibos and herbal teas. Beverages. 2(3):17, 2016.

*Longo AB, Ward WE. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, bone mineral density and fragility fracture: Findings from human studies. Advances in Nutrition. 7(2):299-312, 2016.

*Nash LA, Peters SJ, Sullivan PJ, Ward WE. Supraphysiological levels of quercetin glycosides are required to alter mineralization in Saos2 cells. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 13(5):E460, 2016.

*Nash LA, Ward WE. Comparison of black, green and rooibos tea on osteoblast activity. Food and Function. 7(2):1166-1175, 2016.

*Nash LA, Ward WE. Tea and bone health: Findings from human studies, potential mechanisms, and identification of knowledge gaps. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 57(8):1603-1617, 2017.

*Nash LA, Sullivan PJ, Peters SJ, Ward WE. Rooibos flavonoids, orientin and luteolin, stimulate mineralization in human osteoblasts through the Wnt pathway. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 59(3):443-453, 2015.


*Sparrow TV, *Dodington DW, *Yumol JL, Fritz PC, Ward WE. Higher intakes of flavonoids are associated with lower salivary IL-1B and maintenance of periodontal health 3-4 years after scaling and root planing. Journal of Clinical Periodontology. 47(4): 461-469, 2020.

*Beaudette JR, Fritz PC, Sullivan PJ, Piccini A, Ward WE. Investigation of factors that influence pain experienced and use of pain medication following periodontal surgery. Journal of Clinical Periodontology, 45:578-585, 2018.

*Beaudette JR, Fritz PC, Sullivan PJ, Ward WE. Oral health, nutritional choices and dental fear and anxiety. Dentistry Journal. 5(1):8, 2017.

*Dodington DW, Fritz PC, Sullivan PJ, Ward WE. Higher intakes of fruits and vegetables, ß-carotene, vitamin C, alpha-tocopherol, EPA and DHA are positively associated with periodontal healing after non-surgical periodontal therapy in non-smokers but not in smokers. Journal of Nutrition. 145(11):2512-2519, 2015.


*Wakefield CB, *Yumol JL, *Sacco SM, Sullivan PJ, Comelli EM, Ward WE. Bone structure is largely unchanged in growing male CD-1 mice fed lower levels of vitamin D and calcium than in the AIN-93G diet. Bone Reports, 2019; in press.

*Yumol JL, *Wakefield CB, *Sacco SM, Sullivan PJ, Comelli EM, Ward WE. Bone development in growing female mice fed calcium and vitamin D at lower levels than is present in the AIN-93G reference diet. Bone Reports, 8:229-238, 2018.

GUT-BONE AXIS (in collaboration with Professor E. Comelli, University of Toronto)

*Villa CR, Taibi A, Chen J. Ward WE, Comelli EM. Colonic Bacteroides are positively associated with trabecular bone structure and programmed by maternal vitamin D in male but not female offspring in an obesogenic environment, International Journal of Obesity. 42(4):696-703, 2017.

*Villa CR, Chen J, Wen B, *Sacco SM, Taibi A, Ward WE, Comelli EM. Maternal dietary vitamin D does not program systemic inflammation and bone health in adult female mice fed an obesogenic diet. Nutrients. 8(11): E675, 2016.

*Villa CR, Chen J, Wen B, *Sacco SM, Tibi A, Ward WE, Comelli EM. Maternal vitamin D beneficially programs metabolic gut and bone health of mouse male offspring in an obesogenic environment. International Journal of Obesity. 40(12): 1875-1883, 2016.

*Villa CR, Ward WE, Comelli EM. Gut microbiota-bone axis. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 57(8):1664-1672, 2017.


We have conducted studies characterizing changes in bone structure during the lifespan (early life) or after ovariectomy, and, studying specific methodological aspects of in vivo micro computed tomography for application in longitudinal trials studying diet and/or drug interventions to support bone health.

*Bott KD, *Yumol JL, Peters SJ, Ward WE. Sex-specific responses in trabecular and cortical microstructure of tibia due to repeated irradiation from micro-computed tomography in adult CD-1 mice. Bone Reports. 12:100232, 2019.

*Longo AB, *Sacco SM, Ward WE. Proper positioning and restraint of a rat hind limb for focused high resolution imaging of bone micro-architecture using in vivo micro-computed tomography. Journal of Visualized Experiments. Nov 22(129), 2017.

*Longo AB, *Sacco SM, Salmon PL, Ward WE. Longitudinal use of micro-computed tomography does not alter microarchitecture of the proximal tibia in sham or ovariectomized Sprague-Dawley rats. Calcified Tissue International. 98(6):631-641, 2016.

*Longo AB, Salmon PL, Ward WE. Comparison of ex vivo and in vivo micro-computed tomography of rat tibia at different scanning settings. Journal of Orthopedic Research, 35(8):1690-1698, 2016.

*Johnston BD, Ward WE. The ovariectomized rat as a model for studying alveolar bone loss in postmenopausal women. BioMed Research International. 2015:635023, 2015.


Civitelli R, Ziambaras K, Ward WE. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D absorption, metabolism, and deficiency. In: Encyclopedia of Gastroenterology. 2nd ed. P. Sherman et al. (eds.), Elsevier, New York, 2019, in press.

*Yumol JL, Ward WE. The polyphenolic compound hesperidin and bone protection. In: Polyphenols: Mechanisms of Action in Human Health and Disease. R.R. Watson et al. (eds.), Academic Press, United Kingdom, p. 431-440, 2019.


*Zanatta C, Ward WE. Probiotics: not only for gut health? In: Oral Health Journal, October 2020

*Young HE, Ward WE. Polycystic ovarian syndrome and periodontal disease: is there a link? In: Oral Health Journal, October 2020

*Beaudette JR, *Zanatta C, Ward WE. The new Canada’s Food Guide: considerations for periodontal health. In: Oral Health Journal, October 2019

*Beaudette JR, Ward WE, Morin SN. The new Canada Food Guide to support a healthy skeleton throughout life. In: Canadian Orthopedic Association Bulletin, Fall 201

Ward WE, Fritz PC. Nutrition update: dietary protein for periodontal health. In: Oral Health Journal, October 2018

*Klok SP, Fritz PC, Ward WE. Vitamin C update: implications for periodontal health and healing. In: Oral Health Journal, October 2017

Ward WE. Superfood: a connection with periodontal health? In: Oral Health Journal, October 2016

  • Nutrition for Health
  • Bioactives
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone Health
  • Nutrition and Health Throughout the Lifespan
  • Nutritional Programming

Canadian Nutrition Society Volunteer Leadership Award, for significant contributions to activities of the Canadian Nutrition Society and its mission to promote the health of Canadians through nutrition, 2020

Graduate Mentorship Award, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Brock University. A student nominated award to recognize excellence in graduate student supervision and mentorship, 2016

Canada Research Chair in Bone and Muscle Development (Tier 2), Government of Canada, 2011-2021