Lab Group

Graduate Students
Jingjie Xiao

Jingjie Xiao is currently a third year PhD student at Dr. Prado’s lab. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Quality and Safety in her home country of China. Afterwards, she pursued her Master of Science degree in Nutrition Science at Florida State University in USA. She has acquired substantial experience in research during her graduate studies. As a PhD student, she also mentors undergraduate students and Master’s students on research techniques. Likewise, she have mentored and trained health professionals with computerized tomography imaging method for body composition assessment throughout the world (National Institute of Cancer in Brazil, Catholic University of Pelotas in Brazil, and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in USA, Philipps-Universität Marburg in Germany). Her research interests involve but not limited to nutritional status, weight change and body composition change in clinical population, particularly cancer patients. Besides doing research and teaching, she spends time on traveling, reading, cooking western and traditional Chinese food with friends, and talking with friends from all over the world.

Sarah Purcell

Sarah is currently a second year PhD student of Dr. Prado's at the University of Alberta. She completed her Honors Bachelors of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics at Florida State University, where she also received numerous scholarships from the state of Florida and the university. After graduation, she continued on and received her Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition at the same university, where she studied body composition, dietary intake, and functional status of patients with hip or knee osteoarthritis. Shortly thereafter, Sarah moved to Edmonton to complete her PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism. During her graduate studies, she has held and continues to hold various research and teaching assistantships, has presented many scientific posters, and is also involved in leadership roles in various student organizations. Her research interests include assessing the relationships between energy balance and body composition and the consequential impact on outcomes in cancer patients. In her spare time, Sarah loves to do anything that involves swimming, biking, or running and has completed dozens of races ranging in length from 5ks to marathons and half-ironman triathlons.

Leticia Pereira 

Leticia completed a nutrition degree and internship in Brazil. During her undergraduate she received two scholarships, and her outstanding academic performance was recognized by an honors degree. Leticia worked for four years as a consulting dietitian, establishing her professional credentials and increasing her experience and competence in the field. In 2012, she obtained a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition at the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. During her Master’s she received a prestigious Federal scholarship for two consecutive years.
After that, she moved to Canada to continue her career in academia as a PhD student at the University of Alberta. She has received four distinct awards and two scholarships. Leticia Pereira's research will further advance our understanding of energy metabolism among contemporary postpartum women, and will increase our knowledge of factors contributing to postpartum weight retention. Her research uses state-of-the-art equipment (the whole-body calorimetry unit) that precisely measures energy expenditure. Strategies aimed at the prevention and mitigation of obesity and related chronic diseases will have vast ramifications for improving the quality of life for people, and ultimately, address the growing financial burden of obesity.

Camila Pinto
Camila completed a nutrition degree and internship in Brazil. She is also a registered dietitian in her home country. Since her undergraduation she is passionate about nutrition and exercise, which conducted her to specialize in Nutrition Applied to Physical Exercise in Sao Paulo University. In 2015, she received her Masters of Science in Nutrition and Health at the Federal University of Goias, where she studied the effect of nutritional supplementation and physical exercise in the elderly and received a State scholarship for two consecutive years. Following her passion, Camila is currently a first year PhD student in Nutrition and Metabolism at Dr. Prado’s lab. Her research aims to evaluate the effect of a meal replacement product on energy expenditure during rest and physical exercise, appetite sensations and blood markers. Besides that, Camila loves animals, parties, spending time with her family and friends, travelling, eating and playing sports.

Undergraduate Student Researchers

Mary Block

Mary Block is currently a fifth year undergraduate student at the University of Alberta majoring in Nutrition. Mary has recently been accepted into the dietetic internship at the University of Alberta. She completed her first clinical placement at St. Mary’s Hospital in Camrose, Alberta in the summer of 2016 and is looking forward to gaining more experience throughout the rest of her internship in various roles.
Throughout her university career she has received nine scholarships based on academic excellence and leadership in the community. Mary is actively involved in leadership roles in various student organizations and faculty programs. Previously, she has also been involved with the Canadian Diabetes Association, working as a nutrition counsellor with their summer camp programs.
Mary is currently working on research in Dr. Prado’s lab comparing various body composition assessment techniques in healthy women. She looks forward to gaining experience in the research setting and hopes to continue pursuing research in her future career. In her spare time, Mary loves to snowboard in the Rocky Mountains, play ringette, and practice guitar. 

Melissa Genee

Melissa Genee is currently in her final year of undergraduate studies at the University of Alberta majoring in nutrition. She previously attained a degree in Cellular, Molecular and Microbial Biology from the University of Calgary, which she completed in 2012. Melissa was recently accepted into the dietetic internship through the University of Alberta and has completed her first clinical placement at the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury in Ponoka, Alberta. She is eager to complete the remaining portions of the internship, which includes work in clinical, foodservice and community dietetics. Melissa is passionate about maternal nutrition, diabetes, obesity and pediatric nutrition, and is hoping to work in a community or outpatient setting in the future.
Melissa has previously volunteered in an administrative capacity at the Human Nutrition Research Unit with various research teams. Melissa is currently working on a research project with Dr. Prado and Camila Pinto, PhD Candidate, comparing various body composition assessment techniques in healthy women. Melissa is excited to experience the research side of nutrition and aims to remain active in research once starting her career as a registered dietitian. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys cooking, practicing yoga and hiking in the mountains.

Claire Trottier 
Claire has a B. Sc. in Biological Sciences with a minor in Nutrition from the University of Alberta and graduated in 2014. She has previous experience in the field of research which started as volunteer work during her undergraduate degree preforming data entry for a study that was investigating maternal diet and nutrient intake during pregnancy. She later went on to work on a Canada wide study which aimed to identity the key factors that influence food and fluid intake of older adults living in long-term care facilities. Her background in science and thirst for knowledge has only reinforced her interest in working in the field of research.
As a Research Coordinator in Dr. Prado’s Lab, Claire is currently providing support for various research projects that are investigating energy expenditure and body composition in cancer.
In her spare time, Claire loves to do outdoor activities such as running and camping and swimming in the icey cold waters of Jasper National Park.

Taiwo Olobatuyi

Taiwo completed her undergraduate and post graduate degree programs in her home country of Nigeria where she specialized in food and industrial microbiology. Her research focused on nutritional evaluation of microbial gut flora and blood lipids.
After relocating to Canada, she joined Dr. Prado's Lab as a research assistant and is currently studying the quantification of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle on breast cancer patient using CT images.
She is an indoor person who enjoys reading and listening to music.

Amanda Purkiss

Amanda completed her Food and Nutrition Management Diploma at Saskatchewan polytechnic in Saskatoon. Her academic education continued at the University of Alberta where she completed her Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology with a minor in Community Nutrition in 2014.
Her experience completing a practicum with the nutrition advisory team at Health Canada allowed her to further develop her interests in research. She has previously performed data collection and data entry in a study looking at improving the nutritional needs and quality of life of long term care residents. Amanda recently joined Dr. Prado’s lab as a Research Assistant where she provides research support on studies within the unit. Amanda is also responsible for maintaining the unit.
Amanda enjoys volunteering her time to several different organizations that include the Alberta Human Ecology Association (AHEA) and the Canadian Diabetes Association as part of the Volunteer engagement services team (VEST).
Her passion for travelling, nutrition, and new experiences has taken her all around South Africa, Southeast Asia and Central America. Other hobbies include snowboarding in the mountains!

Visiting PhD Student
Ilana Roitman

Ilana completed a nutrition degree and internship in Brazil. She is also a registered dietitian in her home country. After her degree, Ilana worked for two years as a consulting dietitian with pregnant woman and children with chronic diseases while doing her fellowship at the Children’s Institute in Sao Paulo. She has over 3 years of experience working as a dietitian in a clinical care setting during her experience at the Cancer Institute of the State of Sao Paulo (ICESP). While working in the clinical settings she went as an academic visitor to "Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center" in Miami (US), "University of California in Los Angeles – UCLA" and "Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center" in NY, (US), with the purpose of learning about different clinical settings in her area. She is passionate about nutrition and its role in cancer, which inspired her to do her PhD in Nutrition applied to patients with cancer under intensive care at the College of Medicine from the University of Sao Paulo (FMUSP). Ilana had the opportunity to meet Dr. Carla Prado during a conference in Brazil, and after six months she went to Canada as an Academic visitor at the University of Alberta with the specific purpose of learning how to analyze Computerized Tomography (CT) images utilizing the Slice-O-Matic® Software. Ilana became very interested in nutritional assessment and body composition after this experience. She was successful in receiving a scholarship (ELAP Program) and an award from the Canadian Bureau and from the University of Alberta. Currently, Ilana is a Research Assistant in the PRIMe Study which aims to investigate the efficacy of diets of different protein content in the muscle mass maintenance (primary endpoint) and the improvements on physical function metabolism, tolerance to treatment and quality of life (exploratory endpoints) in cancer patients capable of oral nutrition support. She is also a volunteer teacher assistant in NUTR 440 – Nutritional Science. Besides that, Ilana lived for 6 months in the US during High School as a foreign exchange student and a year in Israel doing community service and learning leadership. She also loves spending time with her family, friends and travelling.

Extended Members
Dr. Sarah Elliott

After graduating from the University of Queensland in 2012 with a PhD in Nutrition, Sarah worked as a research assistant on different pediatric feeding and oncology projects before moving to Singapore to pursue a research fellowship focusing on women’s nutrition. After working there for a year, and taking in all the culinary delights South East Asia had on offer, she decided it was time for a change, and said goodbye to 100% humidity, and hello -40C! Sarah arrived in Canada last year to undertake a postdoc with Human Nutrition Research Unit.
Sarah is an active member of the research community and currently sits as vice president on the University of Alberta’s Postdoctoral Fellows Association, and the Cancer Research Institute of Northern America’s executive committees. Her dedication to continual learning throughout her PhD is highlighted by her understanding of the technical aspects of body composition and energy metabolism assessment coupled with her strategic placement in specialized laboratories.
Since her PhD, Sarah has sought to reinforce her long-term commitment to health science research and has developed a passion for interdisciplinary research focusing on the relationship between energy metabolism and body composition to health outcomes in different clinical cohorts.
When Sarah isn’t in her office, she’s either playing soccer or organizing social events for the lab!

Carlene Johnson-Stoklossa 

Carlene has a passion for lifelong learning and a love of travel. Her academic training started at the University of Western Ontario with a BA Psychology and a Diploma in Health Promotion and Education. She then travelled across the country to completing her BSc Dietetics and internship in Vancouver, BC before moving to Alberta. Carlene has gained 15 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian and is recognized as an expert in nutrition and obesity management. As the Provincial Adult Obesity Practice Lead- Nutrition Services and the dietitian member of the interdisciplinary Provincial Bariatric Resource Team with Alberta Health Services, she has been actively involved in setting best practice guidelines and supporting health care providers to develop their expertise and improve patient care. She has collaborated on several research papers, book chapters, and curriculum development. She is an experienced public speaker and has been invited to several nutrition, obesity and surgery conferences across Canada and the US. Her keen interest in body composition and energy metabolism has led her to pursue her M.Sc Nutrition with Dr. Carla Prado. She is very excited to be joining Dr. Prado’s lab and will begin her 2nd year as a full-time student in September 2015.