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. Sissons, M., Ames, N., Egan, N., Rhymer, C. (2008). A comparison of two instrumental techniques used to discriminate the cooking quality of spaghetti, 43(7), 1323-1329. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2007.01644.x

    2008 - View publication details

  2. Edwards, N.M., Preston, K.R., Paulley, F.G., Gianibelli, M.C., McCaig, T.N., Clarke, J.M., Ames, N.P., Dexter, J.E. (2007). Hearth bread baking quality of durum wheat varying in protein composition and physical dough properties, 87(11), 2000-2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.2932

    2007 - View publication details

  3. Edwards, N.M., Gianibelli, M.C., McCaig, T.N., Clarke, J.M., Ames, N.P., Larroque, O.R., Dexter, J.E. (2007). Relationships between dough strength, polymeric protein quantity and composition for diverse durum wheat genotypes, 45(2), 140-149. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcs.2006.07.012

    2007 - View publication details

  4. Mitchell Fetch, J.W., Duguid, S.D., Brown, P.D., Chong, J., Fetch, T.G., Haber, S.M., Menzies, J.G., Ames, N., Noll, J., Aung, T., Stadnyk, K.D. (2007). Leggett oat, 87(3), 509-512. http://dx.doi.org/10.4141/CJPS06030

    2007 - 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