College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines

Updates for students, alumni, and supporters

Nutrition & Dietetics Research Updates

Dr. Nathaniel Johnson

This year was exceptionally busy for research as Dr. Johnson set the foundation for his future interdisciplinary research agenda. Dr. Johnson published one manuscript in the 2022-2023 academic year and submitted five different research proposals.

The manuscript was published in the journal Sensors, regarding a novel biomarker sensor and the association of these biomarkers with weight loss during a diet and physical activity weight loss intervention. Dr. Johnson’s research proposals well describe how broad, impactful, and aggressive his research agenda is.

First, a proposal submitted when Dr. Johnson was at NDSU to the USDA was funded. This project intends to provide improved nutrition and physical activity education for rural North Dakotans and he will continue his work.

Dr. Johnson was also part of an interdisciplinary team, including his mentor from the Alice T. Clark program Dr. Gary Schwartz, who submitted a proposal to investigate methods to increase home radon testing through the Dakota Community Collaborative on Translational Activity; this proposal was accepted and awaiting a final decision.

In addition, Dr. Johnson was also invited to write a full proposal to the National Pork Board to investigate the effects of increasing protein intake at breakfast on muscle strength and mass and cardiometabolic health in older adults; this full proposal is still under review.

Lastly, Dr. Johnson submitted two research projects to the Early Career Scholars program, although neither was funded. One project sought to develop an internet application that community members could use to request food from a food bank while receiving tailored nutrition information and cooking and recipe ideas. The project was not funded, but partnerships was identified with NDSU Extension and St. Joseph’s Food Bank that can be built on for future resubmission to a different funder.

Another project had the goal of trying to use a smartphone camera to measure the degradation of cooking oil, a factor in cancer development. Dr. Johnson plans to continue this line of research this summer.

Danielle Villano

Danielle Villano is a part of the College of Nursing and Professional Discipline’s (CNPD) Interprofessional Recruitment and Retention of American Indians into Nursing (RAIN) grant writing team and has been working with the group as part of CNPD’s strategic plan to support the RAIN program, to include Nutrition and Dietetics and Social Work students.

This past spring, Danielle collaborated with Sonya Anderson from the Nursing department, Kathy Smart from the College of Education and Human Development, and Turtle Mountain Community College to submit a grant to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The project aims to support Native American students interested in pursuing the nutrition field and increase the number of Native American nutrition professionals to better serve the needs of tribal communities.

She also worked with this team to submit a grant to the Early Career Scholars program which was aimed at developing culturally appropriate nutrition courses for Native American students. While this project was not funded, the team is pursuing other funding opportunities.

Danielle continues to work with the Altru NICU team to recruit infants for her study: Can probiotics improve feeding tolerance and shorten the length of stay in infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome: A pilot study? The study has recruited 10% of the number of participants needed and has been approved by IRB to continue through the end of the year.

Brenna Swanson

Brenna Swanson collaborated with Dr. John Fitzgerald from the Education, Health, & Behavior Department to complete a systematic review on adolescent and adult vitamin D knowledge, awareness, and attitudes.  The study was accepted for publication in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior and will be published in the near future. She is also submitting a dissertation research proposal to explore educational practices to teach competencies in the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) Programs. The study methodology will use a sequential design, beginning with a quantitative survey followed by a qualitative one-on-one interview.

Graduate Student Research

Our students have been just as busy as the faculty and staff! This year we had students representing UND at the University and state levels presenting their independent study research.

Three graduate students presented at the North Dakota Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics conference during the poster session.

  • Jonathan Dralle – Effects of Phytosterol Consumption on Heart Disease Risk in Adults: A Literature Review
  • Candice Brierley – The Physiological Effects of Dehydration Amongst Firefighters with Regards to Personal Protective Equipment
  • Katie Huettl – Risk Factors and Intervention in Parkinson’s Disease
Department Chair Desiree Tande and Kimberly Lucas with her Winning Grad Poster Check
N&D Department Chair Desiree Tande and N&D graduate student Kimberly Lucas

Every year the School of Graduate Studies GRAD contest highlighted research from graduate students across the University. At this event, four Nutrition and Dietetics Students shared their findings.

  • Kimberly Lucas – The Role of Vitamin D in Treating Diabetic Foot Ulcers (Read more about her experience on UND Today)
  • Kali Wake – Effects of Continuous versus Intermittent Energy Restriction on Weight Loss
  • Madison Musich- Eating Disorders and Nutrition Knowledge: A Narrative Review
  • Ellie Morgan – Food Insecurity in College Students with a Focus on Collegiate Athletics: A Narrative Review

CNPD Research & Scholarship Day

It doesn’t end there! More of our students presented at the College of Nursing and Professional Disciplines Research & Scholarship Day.

  • Cameron Kraning – A Narrative Review of Dehydrated Foods and Outdoor Backpacking (view online presentation)
  • Pratistha Pokharel – Effectiveness of Probiotics as Nutrition Intervention in ASD Population (view online presentation)
  • Lauren Steiner – Nutrition Implications in the Treatment of GI Symptoms in Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (hEDS) and Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD) (view online presentation)
  • Madison Musich – Eating Disorders and Nutrition Knowledge (view online presentation)
  • Kali Wake – Continuous vs. Intermittent Energy Restriction – Which is Superior? (view online presentation)
  • Mishal Lucido and Quinn Hilber – Relation Between Vitamin D and Depressive Symptoms in Adolescents
  • McKenzie Moe and Larissa Baird – Magnesium and Fibromyalgia
  • Rachel Qualley and Marcus Gilbertson – Maternal Vitamin B-12 Status: Effects on the Neurocognitive Development
    of Offspring


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