Nicole Roy is a Professor in the Department of Human Nutrition at the University of Otago with research interests in nutrition and health, host-microbiome interactions, gastrointestinal physiology, and gut-brain communication.
Professor Nicole Roy joined the Department of Human Nutrition in 2020. Prior to joining, Nicole was a Professor at the Liggins Institute of the University of Auckland and is also an Adjunct Professor in the Riddet Institute at Massey University since 2016. Nicole has previously supervised 27 PhD students and is currently supervising 17 PhD students enrolled at Massey University, the University of Auckland, and the University of Otago.
Nicole completed her BSc, MSc, and PhD studies at Laval University (Québec, Canada). During her PhD studies Nicole was an Academic Fellow from the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Nicole did part of her PhD research at Agriculture Canada (Lennoxville, Canada) and at the Nutrition Unit of the Meat Animal Research Centre in Clay Centre (Nebraska, USA). Her PhD (awarded in 1997) was followed by Postdoctoral studies at the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen (Scotland, 1997-1998). Both her PhD and Postdoctoral studies focused on how nutrition and food components can modify inter-organ nutrient partitioning and communication using tracer kinetics, animal (pig and sheep) models and in vitro cellular models of human metabolism.
Prior to her academic appointments, Nicole joined AgResearch in 1998 as a Research Scientist and was promoted to Principal Scientist in 2011. From 2006, Nicole led a team of 15 to 30 science staff. Her research focus was on pre-clinical investigations of nutrition, microbe-host interactions, and digestive function, and included contributions to large New Zealand research collaborations. She had science leadership roles in research programmes funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence, Marsden, the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, and New Zealand and international food industries. Nicole was part of the team that established the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge. Since 2006, Nicole has secured $60m worth of research funding in her areas of research.
In the Department of Nutrition, Nicole will lead the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge priority research programme Healthy Digestion: Improving Gastrointestinal Function and Comfort. Her focus is on clinical investigations of nutrition, microbe-host interactions, and gastrointestinal function, and the gut-brain axis. Nicole is also an Associate Investigator in the High-Value Nutrition priority research programme Infant Health. As part of these programmes, Nicole is supervising 4 PhD students.
Nicole will also continue her role as a Principal Investigator and leading research in the role of the microbiome in digestion and gastrointestinal function, with a focus on nutrition and food structure, in the Gastrointestinal Interactions platform of the Riddet Institute Centre of Research Excellence. Nicole joined the Riddet Institute in 2008 and is currently supervising 8 PhD Fellows and 3 Postdoctoral Fellows.
Nicole is a member of the High-Value Nutrition National Science Challenge Leadership Group and the Riddet Institute Research Leadership Group. Nicole is also a Fellow of Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) and has served on several national and international research funding panels.