Research team

Meet our research team

Meet the researchers behind the project

Our researchers are a collective of food people excited to come together and use science and innovation to unlock new food potential.

Andrea Braakhuis

Andrea is a food expert and helps people to make healthy choices, but she likes to keep it real.

Andrea works as a teacher and dietitian at the University of Auckland, educating the next generation of dietitians.

In her spare time, Andrea loves the outdoors!

Anna Rolleston

Anna is a clinical physiologist which means she knows how the body functions.

Anna has built up a team of people who are experts in heart health. She operates with a philosophy that is grounded in Māori values and worldview.

She acknowledges an ‘all-of-person’ and culturally-appropriate approach to health and wellbeing, regardless of cultural context.

Jeremy Krebs

Jeremy is the boss of this project (#BossMan). He’s also a medical doctor and a big-time expert in diabetes at both the University of Otago and Wellington Hospital.

Jeremy mainly researches obesity and metabolic diseases such as diabetes, and how diet and nutrition relate to these.

Outside of work, Jeremy is a keen road cyclist and a frustrated DIY builder.

Mark Weatherall

Mark is a specialist in the care of older adults and is interested in what it takes to be older and healthier.

Mark also teaches medical students at Otago University in Wellington and is involved in the statistical analysis of research projects.

Denise Conroy

Denise is a research psychologist at Plant and Food Research. She specialises in understanding why people choose healthy food – or don’t, helping them to understand this too.

Denise shares a home with her husband Chris, two adult children who refuse to leave, Gus the rescue terrier, and Ichabod the Terrible (a cat intent on ridding New Zealand of all rats!)

Fiona Lithander

Originally from Ireland, Fiona is a nutritionist at the University of Auckland.

Fiona oversees the running of He Rourou Whai Painga and teaches nutrition to medical students.

Fiona is happiest outside, whether tramping, running or falling off her paddle board, which happens a lot.

Troy Merry

Troy is a super-smart diabetes researcher at the University of Auckland.

In Troy’s research, he considers how exercise, diet and drugs affect health.

He and his wife have a son, Tommy, and in his spare time, he enjoys fishing and diving – not that he catches much.

Amber Parry-Strong

Amber is a research dietitian specialising in all things diabetes at Wellington Hospital.

She is involved in many areas of diabetes research that include dietary factors – such as treatment, education and prevention.

In her spare time, Amber loves ballroom dancing.

Richard Gearry

Richard is a medical doctor at Christchurch Hospital and knows a lot about gut health.

Richard also teaches medical students and researchers about gut function and disease at the University of Otago.

Outside of work Richard enjoys sports and exploring the outdoors.

Richards leads the Christchurch arm of the study.

Cheryl Davies

Cheryl (Ngati Raukawa, Ngati Mutunga i Te Wharekauri ) has worked in Māori health over the last 36 years.

She understands Māori communities, having managed the Tu Kotahi Māori Asthma and Research Trust for 29 years.