Dr. Nancy Ames

Image Nancy Ames
Research Scientist

To examine the bioactive components in cereal grains (barley, oat, wheat, and others) and pulses, and their impact on human health; to determine the effect of processing on functionality and health benefits of grain and pulse based foods. 

Current research and/or projects

Investigating the effect of pre-harvest glyphosate on quality of milling oats.

Evaluating the effect of processing methods, genotype and environment on the extractability of protein from oats and characterizing physiochemical and nutritional attributes of oat protein.

Investigating the effect of heat treatment on the storage stability, functional properties and sensory and microbial quality of food grade canaryseed groats and flours.

Determining levels of free asparagine (a precursor for acrylamide formation in baked foods) in Canadian Western Red Spring wheat varieties, and to identify effective mechanisms for its reduction.

Research and/or project statements

  • goal is to work in conjunction with breeders, researchers and the agri-food industry to develop improved cultivars and food processing techniques that maximize the health properties and utilization potential of Canadian grains and pulses
  • research experiments include:
    • quantification and characterization of fibre, phenolics and other compounds
    • pilot scale processing such as flaking, heat treatments and fractionation
    • functional food formulation for quality assessment and design of clinical trial test foods
    • development of in vitro methods for predicting and validating health outcomes.
  • Dr. Ames’ research program provides an important link between consumer health interests, industry development of value-added agricultural products, and genetic resources for Canadian-grown grains and pulses (fork to farm).

Professional activities / interests

Definition of Whole Grains Committee - member

AAFC Women in Science - chair

Human Research Ethics Committee - chair

AAFC Ethics Committe - chair

Oat Quality Evaluation Team - member

Prairie Recommending Committee - member

Prairie Grain Development Committee - member

Healthy Grains Institute - scientific advisory board member

Quaker Oats Center of Excellence - scientific advisory board member

Verna J. Kirkness science education program - planning committee member



Education and awards


1989    Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Agriculture-Crop Science, University of Guelph, Supervised by Dr. Bert Christie. PhD thesis: “Variability among strains and field isolates of Rhizobium leguminosarum biovar trifolii as measured on red clover (Trifolium pratense L.)”.

1982    Master of Science, Department of Plant Science, University of Manitoba, supervised by Dr. Ken Clarke and Dr. Anna Storgaard

1980    Bachelor of Science, Department of Food Science, University of Manitoba


2018    Recipient of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Science

2016    Mentor of the year award in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Sanofi-Aventis BioTalent Challenge.       

2015    American Association of Cereal Chemists International Edith Christensen Award.

2012    Accuracy Award for Analysis of Dietary Fiber, for the most accurate and precise results in 2011 for insoluble, soluble, total dietary fiber and beta-glucan.

2012    Recognition of Analytical Performance in Analysis of Dietary Fiber, with an "Outstanding Accuracy and Precision" rating for 2011 for insoluble, soluble, total dietary fiber and beta-glucan.

2010    AAFC Instant Award for achieving the Guinness world record for the biggest bowl of oatmeal, and the success of the 2010 CIFST-AAFC Conference and AAFC Food Network Meeting.

2010    Guinness World Record for the biggest bowl of oatmeal.

2008    American Association of Cereal Chemists International Accuracy Award for Dietary Fiber Analysis.

2008    American Association of Cereal Chemists International Certificate of Proficiency for Dietary Fiber Analysis.

2007-2008      Biotech Challenge Mentor of the year-Distinction, Aventis Biotech Challenge CANADA

Key publications

  1. Malunga, L.N., Ames, N., Khorshidi, A.S., Thandapilly, S.J., Yan, W., Dyck, A., Waterer, J., Malcolmson, L., Cuthbert, R., Sopiwnyk, E., Scanlon, M.G. (2021). Association of asparagine concentration in wheat with cultivar, location, fertilizer, and their interaction. Food Chemistry, [online] 344 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.128630

    2021 - View publication details

  2. Xie, Y., Malunga, L.N., Ames, N.P., Waterer, J., Khorshidi, A.S., Scanlon, M.G. (2021). Effects of growing environment, genotype, and commercial fertilization levels on free asparagine concentration in Western Canadian wheat. Cereal Chemistry, [online] 98(1), 89-99. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cche.10364

    2021 - View publication details

  3. 19. Heather Blewett, Nancy Ames, Jay Petkau, Sijo Joseph, Sora Ludwig, Randomized Controlled Crossover Dose-Response Trial Shows Low Dose (2 g) Barley β-Glucan Provided in Waffles Lowers Post-Prandial Glycaemic Response In Healthy Adults, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 4, Issue Supplement_2, June 2020, Page 615, https://doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzaa049_008

    2020 - View publication details

  4. Citation not required for the publication

    2020 - View publication details

  5. Malunga, L.N., Ames, N.P., Masatcioglu, M.T., Khorshidi, A.S., Thandapilly, S.J., Cuthbert, R.D., Sopiwnyk, E., Scanlon, M.G. (2019). Free asparagine concentrations in Canadian hard red spring wheat cultivars. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 99(3), 338-347. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjps-2018-0134

    2019 - View publication details

  6. Malunga, L.N., Joseph Thandapilly, S., Ames, N. (2018). Cereal-derived phenolic acids and intestinal alpha glucosidase activity inhibition: Structural activity relationship. Journal of Food Biochemistry, [online] 42(6), http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jfbc.12635

    2018 - View publication details

  7. Salimi Khorshidi, A., Thandapilly, S.J., Ames, N. (2018). Application of low-intensity ultrasound as a rapid, cost-effective tool to wheat screening: A systematic frequency selection. Journal of Cereal Science, [online] 82 190-197. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcs.2018.06.011

    2018 - View publication details

  8. Thandapilly, S.J., Ndou, S.P., Wang, Y., Nyachoti, C.M., Ames, N.P. (2018). Barley β-glucan increases fecal bile acid excretion and short chain fatty acid levels in mildly hypercholesterolemic individuals. Food and Function, [online] 9(6), 3092-3096. http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/c8fo00157j

    2018 - View publication details

  9. Wang, Y., Harding, S.V., Thandapilly, S.J., Tosh, S.M., Jones, P.J.H., Ames, N.P. (2017). Barley β-glucan reduces blood cholesterol levels via interrupting bile acid metabolism. British Journal of Nutrition, [online] 118(10), 822-829. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114517002835

    2017 - View publication details

  10. Boyd, L., Storsley, J., Ames, N. (2017). Effect of heat treatments on starch pasting, particle size, and color of whole-grain barley. Cereal Chemistry, [online] 94(2), 325-332. http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/CCHEM-04-16-0100-R

    2017 - View publication details

  11. Gamel, T.H., Abdel-Aal, E.S.M., Ames, N.P., Henderson, K., Prothon, F., Kongraksawech, T., Tosh, S.M. (2015). AACCI approved methods technical committee report: A new AACCI approved method (32-24.01) for measuring viscosity of β-glucan in cereal products using the rapid visco analyzer. Cereal Foods World, [online] 60(6), 279-283. http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/CFW-60-6-0279

    2015 - View publication details

  12. Ames, N., Blewett, H., Storsley, J., Thandapilly, S.J., Zahradka, P., Taylor, C. (2015). A double-blind randomised controlled trial testing the effect of a barley product containing varying amounts and types of fibre on the postprandial glucose response of healthy volunteers. British Journal of Nutrition, [online] 113(9), 1373-1383. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114515000367

    2015 - View publication details

  13. Ames, N., Storsley, J., Tosh, S. (2015). Effects of processing on physicochemical properties and efficacy of β-glucan from oat and barley. Cereal Foods World, [online] 60(1), 4-8. http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/CFW-60-1-0004

    2015 - View publication details

  14. Gamel, T.H., Abdel-Aal, E.S.M., Ames, N.P., Duss, R., Tosh, S.M. (2014). Enzymatic extraction of beta-glucan from oat bran cereals and oat crackers and optimization of viscosity measurement. Journal of Cereal Science, [online] 59(1), 33-40. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcs.2013.10.011

    2014 - View publication details

  15. May, W.E., Ames, N., Irvine, R.B., Kutcher, H.R., Lafond, G.P., Shirtliffe, S.J. (2014). Are fungicide applications to control crown rust of oat beneficial?. Canadian Journal of Plant Science, [online] 94(5), 911-922. http://dx.doi.org/10.4141/CJPS2013-333

    2014 - View publication details

  16. Gamel, T.H., Tosh, S.M., Abdel-Aal, E-S.M., and Ames, N.P. (2012). "Impact of digestive enzymes on the optimization of in vitro digestion and beta glucan viscosity measurement using Rapid Visco Analyzer.", 2012 International Annual Meeting of the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), Hollywood, FL, USA, September 30-October 3, 2012, Published in: Supplement Cereal Food World, 57(4) A46. (Abstract)

    2012 - View publication details

  17. Gardner, K.M., Wight, C.P., Mitchell Fetch, J.W., Yan, W., Ames, N.P., Rossnagel, B.G., Herrmann, M., Molnar, S.J., Frégeau-Reid, J.A., Miller, S.S., Fetch Jr., T.G., Chong, J., Martin, R.A., Tekauz, A., Haber, S.M., Savard, M.E., and Tinker, N.A. (2012). "Prospects of whole genome selection in oat using high throughput genetic markers.", 9th International Oat Conference: Harvest for Food and Health, Beijing, China, June 20-23, 2012. (Poster)

    2012 - View publication details

  18. Gamel, T.H., Abdel-Aal, E.S.M., Wood, P.J., Ames, N.P., Tosh, S.M. (2012). Application of the rapid Visco Analyzer (RVA) as an effective rheological tool for measurement of β-glucan viscosity. Cereal Chemistry, [online] 89(1), 52-58. http://dx.doi.org/10.1094/CCHEM-07-11-0089

    2012 - View publication details

  19. Brown, D.C.W., Mazza, G., Ross, K.A., Jordan, M.A., McCallum, J.L., Netticadan, T., Siow, Y.L., Khanizadeh, S., Ames, N.P., and Lui, E.M.K. (2011). "Plant Bioactives Research in Canada.", Plant Bioactives Research in Canada. Canada-United Kingdom Gut and Health Workshop, AAFC-FRDC / AAC-CRDA, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada, February 24-25, 2011.

    2011 - View publication details

  20. Ames, N.P. (2011). "The Value Chain from Breeding to the Clinical Trials and Back to Breeding: The Barley Story.", AAFC Regional Research User Meeting, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, June 1, 2011. (Presentation)

    2011 - View publication details

Research facility

Route 100, Unit 100-101
Morden, MB R6M 1Y5


Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada   

Adjunct Professor, Department of Human Nutritional Sciences, University of  Manitoba, Canada