Professor, Kinesiology (primary) & Health Sciences
Canada Research Chair in Bone and Muscle Development
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 in foods – including flavonoids present in tea or dietary estrogens such as flaxseed lignans or soy isoflavones, or specific fatty acids – modulate bone metabolism during challenges (i.e. during pregnancy and lactation, or during aging)
- How foods or food components promote oral health and healing after periodontal procedures
- Nutritional programming: Understanding how early life diet – including soy isoflavones, folic acid, vitamin D and protein – favourably programs bone and muscle metabolism
Knowledge Mobilization: We are actively involved in knowledge mobilization activities for health professionals and lay audiences on topics related to nutrition and bone, oral/periodontal or women’s health through oral presentations, podcasts and print media
- Editor in Chief, Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism (journal of the Canadian Nutrition Society, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and Exercise and Sport Science Australia)
- Chair, Dietary Recommendations Working Group, for the Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Osteoporosis in Canada
- Member, Scientific Advisory Council, Osteoporosis Canada
- Member, Education Committee, Canadian Nutrition Society
- Member, Development Committee, Osteoporosis Canada
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. For a full listing of peer-reviewed publications, see the link weblink:
Trainees at all levels are actively involved in the research program and are integral to its success (denoted by *).
SELECTED PUBLICATIONS BY TOPIC
BIOACTIVES AS A STRATEGY TO PROMOTE BONE HEALTH DURING PHYSIOLOGICAL CHALLENGES (aging, pregnancy and lactation)
*McAlpine MD, *Yumol JL, Ward WE. Pregnancy and lactation in Sprague-Dawley rats result in permanent reductions of tibia trabecular bone mineral density and structure but consumption of red rooibos herbal tea supports the partial recovery. Frontiers in Nutrition. 2021, in press.
*McAlpine MD, *Gittings W, MacNeil AJ, Ward WE. Black and green tea as well as specialty tea increases osteoblast mineralization with varying effectiveness. Journal of Medicinal Food. 24(8):866-872, 2021.
*Cleverdon RE, *McAlpine MD, Ward WE. Black tea exhibits a dose-dependent response in Saos-2 cell mineralization. Journal of Medicinal Food. 23(9):1014-1018, 2020.
*McAlpine MD, *Gittings W, MacNeil AJ, Ward WE. Red rooibos tea stimulates osteoblast mineralization in a dose-dependent manner. Beverages. 5(69):5040069, 2019.
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.
*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, 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.
ORAL HEALTH AND HEALING
*Dodington DW, *Young HE, *Beaudette JR, Fritz PC, Ward WE. Improved healing after non surgical periodontal therapy is associated with higher protein intake in patients who are non-smokers. Nutrients. 13(11):3722, 2021.
*Sparrow TV, Fritz PC, Sullivan PJ, Ward WE. Regular maintenance appointments after non-surgical scaling and root planing support periodontal health in patients with or without dry mouth: a retrospective study. Clinical and Experimental Dental Research. 7(5):647-655, 2021.
*Beaudette JR, Piccini A, Fritz PC, Ward WE. Patients undergoing periodontal procedures commonly use dietary supplements: a consideration in the design of intervention trials. Clinical and Experimental Dental Research. 7(1):123-128, 2020.
*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.
EARLY DIET FOR PROGRAMMING BONE HEALTH
*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, 10:100191, 2019.
*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.
We have conducted studies characterizing changes in bone structure during the lifespan 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.
*Villa CR, *Sacco SM, Chen J, Taibi A, Comelli EM, Ward WE. Effect of low vitamin D fed prior to and during pregnancy and lactation on maternal bone mineral density, structure and strength in C57BL/6 mice. Current Developments in Nutrition. 5(10):nzab114, 2021.
*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.
SELECTED BOOK CHAPTERS ON NUTRITION AND BONE HEALTH
Civitelli R, Ziambaras K, Ward WE. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D absorption, metabolism, and deficiency. In: Encyclopedia of Gastroenterology. 2nd ed. E.J. Kuipers (ed.), Academic Press, United Kingdom, p. 418-423, 2020.
*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.
POPULAR ARTICLES FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS – Knowledge Mobilization
*Young HE, Ward WE. Physical activity to support periodontal health. In: Oral Health Journal, October 2021
*Rowdon LJ, Ward WE. A plant-based diet and periodontal health. In: Oral Health Journal, October 2021
*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
- Nutrition for health throughout the lifespan, including nutritional programming by early life diet
- Food bioactives
- Osteoporosis and bone strength
- Nutrition and oral health, including periodontal health
- Knowledge mobilization (KMb)
Osteoporosis Canada Backbone Award, for significant and exceptional impact made as a volunteer for Osteoporosis Canada, 2021
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, 2011-2022