Tom ClandininTom Clandinin, PhD

Office:     4-002C, Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Mail:       University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB Canada T6G 2E1
Phone:   780-492-5188
Fax:       780-492-8855



Current Position


Professor, Human Nutrition

Director, Alberta Institute of Human Nutrition


Research Area




Current Research Activities


Dr. Clandinin’s extensive research of dietary essential fatty acid metabolism was the first to demonstrate the plasticity of cell membranes in response to diet and the influence of dietary fatty acids on various disease mechanisms as well as blood lipids. Highlights of his research include:

  • Through his animal research Dr. Clandinin demonstrated that the structure and function of brain tissue is altered by dietary fatty acid intake during early life thus establishing the importance of essential fatty acid intake, specifically arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in infancy.
  • Informed by the findings from previous animal studies, he conducted several human clinical trials to assess the effect of AA and DHA on brain development in human infants, which successfully demonstrated the benefits of AA and DHA consumption on cognition, immune function, and visual acuity. National and international infant formula standards for fatty acid composition have been revised to include the ratios of AA and DHA most beneficial for infant growth and development as suggested by Dr. Clandinin’s research.
  • In a recent human study, Dr. Clandinin’s research demonstrated that long chain fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA, delivered intravenously improve health outcomes in infants undergoing open heart surgery by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
  • Based on promising results from animal studies, Dr. Clandinin is currently investigating the potential of DHA in preventing, or slowing the progression of age related macular degeneration in an on-going human clinical trial including over 1,000 participants.
  • Dr. Clandinin’s research has also established the role of dietary fats in the progression and prevention of chronic disease, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease through the modulation of hormone and immune function at the synaptosomal level.
  • Dr. Clandinin is presently investigating the effect of gangliosides consumption on intestinal mucosa and the implications for protecting against giardiasis and inflammatory bowel disease. The potential of ganglioside as a therapeutic agent in reducing mucosal inflammation and infection shows promise.

His research has informed both nutritional regulations and requirements at both the national and international level such as the regulations for labeling trans fatty acid content in Canada. He has helped to set the polyunsaturated fat requirements for infants, and nutrient levels for pregnant and lactating women. 


Other Activities and Affiliations


Academic and Professional Appointments (2000-2012):

2004-08     Director, Alberta Institute for Human Nutrition

2006- 09    Associate Chair, Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science, University of Alberta

2006 -        Distinguished University Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food & Nutritional Science and Department of Medicine, University of Alberta




PhD, University of Alberta


Major Achievements


1996 Nutrition and Toxicology Research Institute Medal, University of Maastricht

1998 Stephen S. Chang Award, American Oil Chemist’s Society

2006 Earle Willard McHenry Award of Canadian Society for Nutrition Science for distinguished career contributions to Nutrition

2006 University Professorship

2007 Ed & Peggy Tyrchniewicz Award for Innovation in Teaching

2008 E.W. Crampton Award in recognition of Distinguished Service in the fields of Nutrition and Food, McGill University

2009 25 Years of Service to the University of Alberta

2011 Faculty of ALES Teacher of the Year Award, University of Alberta

2012 Distinguished Nutrition Leadership Award, Danone Institute of Canada


Selected Publications


Wilke, M.S., French, M.A., Goh, Y.K., Ryan, E.A., Jones, P.J. and Clandinin, M.T. (2009) Synthesis of specific fatty acids contributes to VLDL-triacylglycerol composition in humans with and without type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia 52 (8): 1628-1637.

Schnabl, K., Larsen, B., Van Aerde, J.E., Lees, G., Evans, M., Belosevic, M., Field, C., Thomson, A.B.R. and Clandinin, M.T. (2009) Gangliosides protect bowel in an infant model of necrotizing enterocolitis by suppressing pro-inflammatory signals. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 49 (4): 382-392.

Su, J.W., Lambert, J.E., Ryan, E., Clandinin, M.T. and Proctor, S.D. (2009) Impaired Post-Prandial Metabolism of Apolipoprotein B48-Containing Remnant Particles in Normolipidemic Subjects with Brittle Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Care 32(2) : e21.

Park, E.J., Thomson, A.B.R. and Clandinin, M.T. (2010) Protection of intestinal occludin tight junction protein by dietary gangliosides in lipopolysaccharide-induced acute inflammation. JPGN. 50 (3): 321-328.

Lee, T.K.M., Clandinin, M.T., Hebert, M. and MacDonald, I.M. (2010) The Effect of DHA Supplementation on the Macular Function in Patients with Best Vitelliform Macular Dystrophy. Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology 45:514–9.

Mangat R, Su J.W., Lambert J.E., Clandinin M.T., Wang Y., Uwiera R.R.E., Forbes J.M., Vine D.F., Cooper M.E., Mamo J.C.L., and Proctor S.D. (2011) Increased risk of cardiovascular disease in type 1 diabetes: Increased arterial exposure to remnant lipoproteins leads to enhanced deposition of cholesterol to glycated extracellular matrix proteoglycans. Diabetic Medicine. 28(1):61-72.

Larsen, B, M., Goonewardene, L.A., Joffe, A.R., Van Aerde, J.E., Field, C.J., Olstad, D.L., Clandinin, M.T. (2012) Pre-treatment with an intravenous lipid emulsion containing fish oil (eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acid) decreases inflammatory markers after open-heart surgery in infants: a randomized, controlled trial. Clinical Nutrition 31(3): 322-329

Miklavcic, J.J., Hitt, M.M., Mazurak, V.C., Clandinin, M.T. (2012) Ganglioside Decreases Growth and Increases Adenovirus Infectivity of PC-3 Prostate Cancer Cells in vitro. Nutrients. In Press

Miklavcic, J.J., Schnabl, K.L., Mazurak, V.C., Thomson, A.B.R., Clandinin, M.T. (2012) Dietary ganglioside reduces proinflammatory signaling in the intestine. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism 2012:280286. 




J. Lambert                         2004-10

M. Rivas (PhD)                   2009-                                                                                   

Q. Li (PhD)                        2010-

J. Miklavcic (PhD)               2010-                    

M. Beveridge (MSc)             2012-