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Marlena is an established academic with over 95 peer reviewed publications. She is a world reknowned expert on lipids and bone health. She is also a consultant to Fonterra Brands Singapore Ltd engaging in research development and planning, strategic planning and execution of nutritional trials. Marlena obtained her PhD from the Medical University of South Africa, followed by post-doctoral training firstly at the Max Planck Institute in Heidelberg, Germany, followed by period at University of Texas at Austin, USA specialising in protein purification and identification. She thereafter was appointed as senior lecturer and later associate professor in Physiology at University of Pretoria, South Africa. She migrated to New Zealand in 2000 and established bone and nutrition research at Massey. She became Division leader for Human Nutrition in 2005, and was awarded a personal Chair in the same year. Her main focus in research include dairy foods, bioactives and lipids in bone health.
Marlena's current research focusses on food for maintaining bone and joint health and mobility. She plays a key role in the National Science Challenge High Value Nutrition and she has several international collaborators around the area of food for health and mobility.
Roles and Responsibilities
Director of Research, College of Health; Deputy Head of Institute.
Member of the Doctoral Research Committee, College of Health Executive, and College of Health Board.
Marlena Kruger is an established researcher with a strong background in bone health research. She is widely published in this area. Marlena has a strong track record in research on food for health and well-being with a focus on maintenance of mobility with ageing. In this capacity she also holds an appointment as extraordinary professor in Human Nutrition at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, where she currently co-supervises 5 postgraduate students. Marlena is also a member of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being at University of Pretoria where she contributes to the functional food platform.
Research expertise in Human nutrition and health with a major emphasis on bone health. Assessment include bone mineral density, bone biomechanics and bone markers. Specialist expertise in in vitro assessment of bioactives, preclinical assessment of nutrients in animal models and conducting nutritional intervention trials in humans. Experience in conducting acute feeding trials and community based trials in humans with bone and joint health and other health outcomes. Nutritional focus on dairy products, essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
Experience in conducting human clinical intervention studies is South-East Asia and China in collaboration with local scientists at universities and hospitals.
Health and Well-being, Future Food Systems
Field of research codes
Biological Sciences (060000):
Medical And Health Sciences (110000): Nutrition and Dietetics (111100): Nutritional Physiology (111103):
Food for Health focussing on nutrition to support bone and joint health including essential fatty acids, bioactives, phytochemicals, dairy products. Assessing the effects of food on mobiity by using biomarkers for bone and joint health.
Osteoporosis and calcium homeostasis in children and postmenopausal women, Essential fatty acids and dairy products for bone health. Bone densitometry and bone biomechanics. Biomarkers for bone health.
Micronutrient bioavailability and function.
Joint health with the focus on osteoarthritis; use of biomarkers for joint health.
In vitro models for bone health; preclinical models for bone health; human clinical intervention studies with bone, joint or body composition as primary outcome.
Project Title: NSC - Musseling Up (High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge)
Date Range: 2016 - 2018
Funding Body: The Cawthron Institute Trust Board
Project Title: Biomarker Development and Validation for use in Human Clinical Studies of Food in Asian Populations
Date Range: 2014 - 2018
Funding Body: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Project Title: Phytoestrogens and bone health: the case for equol
Date Range: 2012 - 2014
Funding Body: Use MINBIE -- Ministry of Science and Innovation
Project Title: Increased intake of vegetables and fruit: effects on bone in postmenopausal women
Date Range: 2010 - 2012
Funding Body: Massey University
Nutrition and bone / joint health; micronutrients and bone; Calcium homeostasis, bone cells and function.