Simón Barquera


Simón Barquera is a medical doctor (UAM '94) with a Master and PhD in Nutrition from Tufts University ('96 and '05). Level 3 member of the National Research System, the National Academy of Medicine (2010) and the World Obesity Federation (2006). He has been a consultant for WHO / PAHO, UNICEF, IARC, IAEA and FAO in the field of obesity and chronic diseases. It has more than 270 publications in scientific journals and 18,135 citations. Amongst some recognitions, he has received the Tufts University Nutrition Impact Award (2016), as well as the distinction of teaching the 11th Michael and Susan Dell Chair in Child Health (University of Texas, 2017) and the 18th Carl J Martinson Chair (University of Minnesota, 2018).

Dr. Barquera currently serves as a leader in the line of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular risk and is Director of the Nutrition and Health Research Center at the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico.


Jeannine Baumgartner

Jeannine Baumgartner is a Senior Scientist at the Human Nutrition Laboratory of ETH Zürich in Switzerland and an Extraordinary Associate Professor at the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition of the North-West University (NWU) in South Africa.

She holds an MSc in Food Science and Nutrition from ETH Zürich, Switzerland, where she also obtained a PhD in Human Nutrition. For her PhD, she investigated the effects of iron and omega-3 fatty acid deficiency and repletion, as well as their interactions, on brain development and cognition using a translational research approach: from rat models to a randomized controlled trial in South African children. Her PhD research was a collaboration with the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition of NWU, which she later joined as a Postdoctoral Fellow, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor, before returning to ETH Zurich in 2018.

Her research is dedicated to understanding the role of adequate micronutrient and omega-3 fatty acid nutrition during critical periods of development, particularly during the “First 1000 Days”, on outcomes related to the development and functioning of the brain, bones, immune system, and the gut microbiome in rodent models and human studies. She further investigates the safety and efficacy of iron intervention strategies.

Dr. Baumgartner serves on the Editorial Board of the British Journal of Nutrition and on the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL). She has published over 35 peer-reviewed articles and has supervised several MSc and PhD students.


Renée Blaauw

Prof Renée Blaauw, PhD (Nutritional Sciences) is an Associate Professor in Therapeutic Nutrition at the Division of Human Nutrition, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

She is a registered dietitian with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). She acted as Chairperson of the Professional Board for Dietetics in South Africa for the period 1999 – February 2004. She is a Past President of SASPEN (South African Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition) and an honorary member of both SASPEN and ADSA (Association for Dietetics in South Africa).

She has authored / co-authored various articles and chapters in scientific publications and textbooks, presented research papers at international and national congresses, been an invited speaker at various symposiums, workshops and serves as a peer-reviewer for national and international scientific journals. 

Her main research interests includes Nutrition support of critically ill patients; Hospital malnutrition; Nutritional management of gastro-intestinal diseases; Pre- and Probiotics and Nutritional Epidemiology.





Edith Feskens

She is a professor in Global Nutrition at Wageningen University (Netherlands). She was trained as a nutrition scientist and epidemiologist, and has >30 years’ experience in nutritional epidemiology. Until 2005 she worked at the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment and was involved in various programmes on obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. She has a strong interest in research methodology, and is involved as Principle Investigator in several European research projects on e.g. glycemic index, sugars and sweeteners, and food metabolomics.

Since 2006 she is involved in research and education in low and middle income countries, including intervention as well as observational studies. So far she has supervised 45 PhD students towards completion of their thesis; she has >480 publications in international peer reviewed journals and h-index of 87.





Stuart Gillespie

Stuart smallsquare

Stuart Gillespie is a Senior Research Fellow with the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), CEO of the Transform Nutrition Research Program Consortium, Research Director of the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) consortium, and leader of the SPEAR flagship (Supporting Policies, Programs and Enabling Action through Research) of the Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) research program. Stuart Gillespie has a PhD in Human Nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (1988). Prior to joining IFPRI in 1999, he worked with UNICEF, World Bank, WFP, FAO, WHO, UNSCN, ADB, Micronutrient Initiative and other agencies on nutrition policy analysis and program support. With IFPRI he initiated the Regional Network on AIDS, Livelihoods and Food Security (RENEWAL), the CGIAR’s Agriculture and Health Research Platform (AHRP), the Tackling the Agriculture-Nutrition Disconnect in India (TANDI) project, Leveraging Agriculture for Enabling Environments in East Africa (LANEA) and Stories of Change in Nutrition. Gillespie has over 150 publications, including 9 books, 14 monographs and 20 book chapters.

Google Scholar Profile: http://scholar.google.co.in/citations?user=8YFZF9kAAAAJ&hl=en



Corinna Hawkes

Corinna photo July 2018

Corinna Hawkes has worked for 20 years with UN agencies, governments, universities and NGOs at the local, national and international level to support the design of more effective food policies to improve diets and prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases. She is currently Director of the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London, UK, a Centre dedicated to advancing the thinking and practice of integrated and inclusive food policy through education, research and outreach. Between 2015-18 she served as Co-Chair of the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report, an international report tracking progress in malnutrition in all its forms across the globe.  Corinna Hawkes has worked at the World Health Organization, the International Food Policy Research Institute, the University of Sao Paulo and World Cancer Research Fund International, where she established the NOURISHING Framework which tracks policies to promote healthy eating worldwide.  She sits on the London Food Board and in 2018 was appointed by the Mayor of London as Vice Chair of the London Child Obesity Taskforce.




Amos Laar

Amos Laar

Amos Laar, Ph.D, University of Ghana, and President, African Nutrition Association.

Dr. Laar has academic training in Nutrition, Public Health, and Bioethics. Currently, his research focuses on two distinct, yet related areas of public health: bioethicsethics & public health; health & human rights, nutrition rights, food and nutrition ethics; and public health nutrition–food and nutrition literacy, nutrition-related non-communicable diseases – particularly the nexus between food environment and health. He spent his research time over the last decade exploring the “socio-cultural, socio-ethical, and medico-ethical dimensions of a sexually/perinatally transmissible infection–HIV.

He has been a Principal/Co-Investigator of over 20 research grants at the University of Ghana.  He co-led the DFID/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded “Dietary Transitions in Ghanaian Cities Project”, and the MRC-funded “Dietary Transitions in African Cities Project” (both projects aimed to identify how social, and physical environments drive consumption of energy dense nutrient-poor foods and beverages). Dr. Laar is currently a Principal Investigator of an IDRC-funded project which is “measuring the healthiness of Ghanaian children’s food environments to prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases”, and a Co-Principal Investigator of an NIH-funded project which will establish a master programme in Bioethics at the University of Ghana.

Dr Laar currently leads the implementation of INFORMAS’ (International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support) modules in Ghana with support from colleagues and collaborators. He is the Founder of hm2r (a global mentoring think tank), and President of African Nutrition Association (a learned society with members from all over Africa).


Joan Matji

Prior to taking up her post in UNICEF Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) as the Regional Nutrition Advisor in April 2015, Joan Matji worked as the UNICEF Chief of Nutrition in Ethiopia and as Senior Nutrition specialist in South Africa. During her time in the South Africa UNICEF Office Joan coordinated and facilitated the implementation of the national food fortification programme in the country. Joan has worked as a research fellow in a University of Pretoria- Yale University partnership on PMTCT that culminated in her doctoral qualification. She is a recipient of the Fogarty International Center Fellowship and previously held a visiting lectureship at the University of Pretoria and the Medical University Southern Africa in Pretoria. Joan holds a doctoral degree from the University of Pretoria and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.





Yogan Pillay

Dr Yogan Pillay Pic

Since 2008 Yogan has been the Deputy Director-General for health programmes in the national Department of Health. Prior to his appointment as DDG he held the positions of chief director for strategic planning and director for the district health system – all in the National Department of Health. He holds a Phd in public health from Johns Hopkins University.

He has authored and co-authored more than 60 peer reviewed journal articles and has co-authored two textbooks (The Textbook of International Health, 2009; The Textbook of Global Health, 2017).

He has been a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory committees for TB and HIV of the WHO. He co-chaired the HIV treatment guidelines committee of the WHO in 2015/16. He served as a member of the Boards of AMREF (SA), the Health Systems Trust, the BIOVAC Institute, and the National Health Laboratory Service. He is currently a member of the board of trustees of the South African National AIDS Council and the board of the Council for Medical Schemes of South Africa. In addition, he serves on the scientific advisory boards of UNAIDS and the TB Alliance.

He has been a member of the ministerial committee on National Health Insurance and continues to lead the national effort to develop service benefits for various levels of care.

In 2018 he was awarded the Karel Styblo Medallion and presented with a certification of appreciation for leadership in the global fight against tuberculosis by KNCV.


Imtiaz Sooliman


Imtiaz qualified as a medical doctor at the University of Natal Medical School in 1984, and worked private practice, which he terminated in  1994 to concentrate on Gift of the Givers Foundation (GOTG) which he founded in 1992. 

GOTG developed into one of the world's most respectable humanitarian organisations.  It is the largest disaster response agency of African origin on the African continent and implements 21 different categories of projects in 42 countries, and has delivered life saving aid in the form of Search and Rescue teams, medical personnel, medical equipment, medical supplies, medicines, vaccines, anti-malarial medication, high energy and protein supplements, food and water to millions of people in 42 countries, South Africa included.

Some highlight include: GTOG designed and developed the world's first and only containerised mobile hospital of its kind in 1993, deployed in Bosnia and compared by CNN to any of the best hospitals in Europe.
Designed the world's first containerised primary health care unit in 1994.
The first organisation in the history of South Africa to be given R60 million by government to design and roll out 204 000 food parcels.
Innovated the world's first groundnut-soya high energy and protein supplement (Sibusiso Ready Food Supplement) in 2004, ideal in conditions of HIV/AIDS, TB, Malnutrition, Cancer and various debilitating conditions.


Kevin Whelan

Kevin Whelan

Kevin Whelan is the Professor of Dietetics and Head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London. Following a BSc in Biochemistry, Kevin completed an MSc in Nutrition and Dietetics and worked as a clinical dietitian in nutritional support and gastroenterology. This was followed by a PhD in Nutritional Sciences researching prebiotics and the gut microbiome as well as an MA in Higher Education. Professor Whelan is a Principal Investigator leading a research programme exploring the interaction between diet, the gastrointestinal microbiota and health and disease. He has undertaken numerous multi-centre investigations of the microbiota in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome and patients receiving artificial nutrition, and the use of diet to modify these. He has published over 140 peer-reviewed papers on the topics of fibre, probiotics, prebiotics and FODMAPs. He is the Series Editor of the BDA book series ‘Advanced Nutrition and Dietetics’ which consists of four books on Gastroenterology, Diabetes, Obesity and Nutrition Support and on the editorial board of the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics and Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. In 2012 he was awarded the Nutrition Society Cuthbertson Medal for clinical nutrition, in 2017 was appointed a Fellow of the British Dietetic Association and in 2018 delivered the Dr Elsie Widdowson Memorial Lecture.