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Research expertise


Consumer interest in improving health and performance with foods containing bioactive ingredients is growing. Our research demonstrates the health benefits of bioactive ingredients (eg, antioxidants and probiotics) and foods (eg, milk, fermented products, fruits, beverages) in both animal models and in humans as well as investigating their mechanisms of action. We examine the bioactive effects on immune function, resistance to infection, blood pressure, diabetes, prediabetes, cognitive function, sports performance and other health measures.


Dietetics and clinical nutrition

We conduct research in a variety of settings including hospitals, residential care and the wider community. Research Dietitians must be able to measure food and nutrient intake with precision in order to evaluate how health and risk for disease are influenced by diet. We use different nutrition assessment methods to better understand the impact of diseases and to design interventions that enhance length and quality of life. We explore eating behaviours and food and nutrient intakes to develop national and international guidelines for nutrition and dietetic practice. ####Contact

Human lifecycle nutrition

The unique nutritional demands at each stage of the lifecycle is the focus of this field of research in the nutritional sciences. Massey University researchers study nutrition of infants, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, adults of all sizes and older people. Researchers also carry out community-based studies to identify at-risk populations and to develop novel intervention strategies.


Human nutrition and bone and joint health

Dietary factors, such as dairy foods and micronutrients or lipids can affect bone health and joint cartilage. Our staff use a range of research technologies to determine the effect of dietary factors on bone health and cartilage degradation.


Milk quality and composition

A cross-disciplinary team of Massey scientists is researching milk quality, composition and health benefits for humans.


Nutrient metabolism and metabolic health

Implicit in the goal of achieving optimal health and wellbeing is an understanding of how our bodies absorb and metabolise nutrients from our diets. We use human, animal and cell studies to investigate the physiological response to dietary modifications and to understand underlying mechanisms that lead to good health outcomes. We are particularly interested in new pathway to obesity prevention and metabolic health. We explore dietary approaches for the prevention of common diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer.


Nutrition and physical activity

We focus on the nutritional requirements of physical activity and sport training. We evaluate the effects of diet modification or supplementation strategies on the performance of the physically active recreational athlete and the elite athlete. Our researchers also explore the relationship between diet, physical activity, the living environment, metabolic health and rehabilitation outcomes in diseases such as type-2 diabetes and vitamin deficiency.


Public health nutrition

Promoting and maintaining the nutritional health of populations is fundamental for the social, cultural, and economic wellbeing of communities. We seek to understand the complex relationship between diet, the food environment and determinants of health to plan, implement and evaluate nutrition promotion strategies that reduce inequity in health outcomes, and improve population health status. Our researchers apply skills in dietary assessment and surveillance, food systems analysis and development to support improved population health and wellbeing.



Find programmes with a research element, including the PhD.

Research degrees

Search for an expert

Search our staff database for an expert or area of expertise.

Expertise search

Research projects

Student research

PhD project ideas

If you are looking to enrol in a PhD, here are project topics our academic staff could potentially supervise.

Nutrition and Dietetics

For this project, you will undertake a needs assessment and develop interventions to assess the effectiveness of food based, supplement and dining room interventions against nutritional, health and social (QOL) outcome measures among older adults in aged residential care.

Find out more

PhD project - older couple nutrition



    The BodPod is an advanced piece of equipment that accurately, easily and reliably measures body composition and then body fat using an air displacement method. Massey University has the only two BodPods in New Zealand. We also have a PeaPod for infants.

    Email bodpod@massey.ac.nz

    DXA machine

    The DXA (Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry) uses two low-dose x-rays that read bone mass and soft tissue simultaneously. It is connected to specialised computer software that is able to reconstruct an image of underlying tissues, bone, fat and fat free body mass.

    This technology is the gold standard for assessment of body composition as well as bone density.

    Email bodpod@massey.ac.nz


    The Fit3D body composition scanner is the latest in body composition measurement.


    Human nutrition and dietetics facilities

    The Human Nutrition and Research Unit has excellent facilities for nutritional assessment and running clinical studies. Our facilities span multiple disciplines in the field, including human studies, animal studies, molecular and cellular biology, microbiology and biochemistry, and rheology.


    Nutrition Laboratory

    The Nutrition Laboratory specialises in analysis of food, plant and animal products. Their facilities enable nutritional testing of food products including for shelf life, food safety, product formulation and labelling.

    Nutrition Laboratory

    Awards and recognition


    Nutrition Symposia

    The Nutrition Symposia gives health professionals and others working the fields of nutrition, food and wellness, accessible and useful information from nutrition research findings.

    Find out more

    Participate in research studies

    Departments and staff

    Find out more about the departments and staff involved in human nutrition research at Massey.

    Meet our students

    Research centres

      Centre for Metabolic Health Research

      The Centre for Metabolic Health Research facilitates interdisciplinary research in metabolic health, with key aspects being the prevention of metabolic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and the maintenance of mobility and functionality throughout the lifecycle. 

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      Nutrition and Dietetic Centre

      The Nutrition and Dietetic Centre combines the clinical, nutritional and research expertise of Massey dietitians and nutritionists with the enthusiasm and creativity of our dietetics students. The Centre is based on the Auckland campus.

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      Vitamin D Research Centre

      The Vitamin D Research Centre works to improve the status of population groups who are demonstrably at risk of vitamin D deficiency and the associated negative health consequences.

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