Wendy E. Ward, PhD

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

Office: WC 290
905 688 5550 x3024

Osteoporosis is a silent disease that ultimately results in fragility fractures, and unfortunately is often associated with a dramatic decline in quality of life. My research team focuses on developing prevention rather than treatment strategies to reduce the risk of fragility fracture during aging. Specifically, we study how foods and food components regulate bone health with the long-term goal of developing nutritional strategies that prevent bone loss, preserve bone structure, and ultimately reduce the risk of fragility fractures. (funded by NSERC, CIHR and CFI).

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
  • Chair, Research Committee, Scientific Advisory Council, Osteoporosis Canada
  • Consulting Editor, Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism (journal of the Canadian Nutrition Society and Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology)
  • Member, Education Committee, Canadian Nutrition Society


GROUPED BY TOPIC, from 2015 to present

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


*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.


*Sacco SM, Saint C, LeBlanc PJ, Ward WE. Nutritional programming of bone structure in male offspring by maternal consumption of citrus flavanones. Calcified Tissue International, 102(6):671-682, 2018.

*Sacco SM, Saint C, LeBlanc PJ, Ward WE. Maternal consumption of hesperidin and naringin flavonones exerts transient effects to tibia bone structure in female CD-1 offspring. Nutrients. 9(3): E250, 2017.

Ward WE, *Kaludjerovic J, *Dindsale EC. A mouse model for studying nutritional programming:  Effects of early life exposure to soy isoflavones on bone and reproductive health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 13(5):E488, 2016.

*Kaludjerovic J, Ward WE. Bone-specific gene expression patterns and whole bone tissue of female mice are programmed by early life exposure to soy isoflavones and folic acid. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 26(10):1068-1076, 2015.


*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.

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.


*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.


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.

 *Sacco SM, Saint C, *Longo AB, *Wakefield CB, Salmon PL, LeBlanc PJ, Ward WE. Repeated irradiation from micro-computed tomography scanning at 2, 4 and 6 months of age does not induce damage to tibial bone microstructure in male and female CD-1 mice. BoneKEy Reports. 13(6):855, 2017.

 *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.

*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.

*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.

Ward WE, *Sacco SM, *Dinsdale EC, *Kaludjerovic J. Transgenerational benefits of soy isoflavones to bone structure in the CD-1 mouse model. In: Nutritional Influence on Bone Health. C.M. Weaver et al. (eds.), Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, p. 127-135. 2016.


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

Ward WE. A cup of green tea for periodontal health? In: Oral Health Journal, October 2015

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