Heather Blewett, PhD

Image Heather Blewett
Research Scientist
  • Design and conduct scientific research as it relates to the influence of food on human health and metabolism.

  • Document scientific productivity/recognition in the form of authorship/editorship of research results in recognized journals and/or published reports, books, papers, or other communications.

  • Write grant applications to secure funding for research program.

  • Manage human resources and budgets.

  • Interact with industry and other stakeholders to garner support and research direction.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Current research and/or projects

  • Investigating whether de-hulled flaxseed maintains the concentration of health promoting bioactives while sufficiently reducing the concentrations of anti-nutrients found in whole ground flaxseed. (Project lead= Heather Blewett).
  • A randomized, controlled, cross-over trial examining the effect of yellow pea flour in bread on post-prandial glycaemic response in health adults. (Project lead= Heather Blewett).
  • Eastern Prairie Living Labs -Management practices for annual crops that increase efficiency of nutrient use and reduce losses to air and water (Role =detection, enumeration and viability assessment of microbial communities in soil using flow cytometry).

Research and/or project statements

  • The research program supports the agri-food sector through improving the competitiveness and adaptability of the agriculture, agri-food and agri-based products and generating new knowledge, fostering innovation and increasing adoption and commercialization of agricultural, agri-food and agri-based products, processes or practices.

Professional activities / interests

  • My research expertise is centered on nutrition & immunology.
  • I have been leading clinical trials with the ultimate goal of filling the gaps in the scientific literature to substantiate health claims for Canadian food products.  Examples of health claims I have worked on include LDL cholesterol lowering, reduction in post-prandial glycaemic response and increased satiety.  I have an interest in exploring the reduction in incidence, duration and severity of the common cold as well as prebiotic claims.
  • I have been exploring the effect of Canadian food products on immune function in the context of chronic disease (ie. cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity).

Education and awards

  • 2009/2-2011/4: Post-doctorate, Clinical trials & vascular function, St. Boniface Hosptial Research Centre.
  • 2006/5-2008/12: Post-doctorate, Nutritional immunology, University of Alberta.
  • 1999/9-2007/2: Doctor of Philosophy, Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba.
  • 2005/9-2006/10: Certification in Higher Education Teaching, University of Manitoba.
  • 1995/9-1999/5: B.Sc. (Hons.) Foods and Nutrition, University of Manitoba.

Key publications

For a complete list of publications, please visit: AAFC Online

Ginseng Berry Extract Rich in Phenolic Compounds Attenuates Oxidative Stress but not Cardiac Remodeling post Myocardial Infarction.

Parikh M, Raj P, Yu L, Stebbing JA, Prashar S, Petkau JC, Tappia PS, Pierce GN, Siow YL, Brown D, Blewett H, Netticadan T.

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Feb 24;20(4). pii: E983. doi: 10.3390/ijms20040983. Erratum in: Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Apr 09;20(7):.


Effect of milled flaxseed and storage conditions on sensory properties and selected bioactive compounds in banana and cinnamon muffins used in a clinical trial.

Santiago A, Ryland D, Cui S, Blewett H, Aliani M.

J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Jan 30;99(2):831-843. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.9253. Epub 2018 Aug 29.

Cyanidin 3-O-glucoside prevents the development of maladaptive cardiac hypertrophy and diastolic heart dysfunction in 20-week-old spontaneously hypertensive rats.

Aloud BM, Raj P, McCallum J, Kirby C, Louis XL, Jahan F, Yu L, Hiebert B, Duhamel TA, Wigle JT, Blewett H, Netticadan T.

Food Funct. 2018 Jun 20;9(6):3466-3480. doi: 10.1039/c8fo00730f.


Protocol for the HAPPY Hearts study: cardiovascular screening for the early detection of future adverse cardiovascular outcomes in middle-aged and older women: a prospective, observational cohort study.

Boreskie KF, Kehler DS, Costa EC, Cortez PC, Berkowitz I, Hamm NC, Moffatt TL, Stammers AN, Kimber DE, Hiebert BM, Kent DE, Cornish DE, Blewett H, Nguyen T, Arora RC, Strachan SM, Semenchuk BN, Hay JL, Cohn JN, Duhamel TA.

BMJ Open. 2017 Nov 3;7(11):e018249. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018249.


A randomized, controlled, crossover study of appetite-related sensations after consuming snacks made from buckwheat.

Defries DM, Petkau JC, Gregor T, Blewett H.

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2018 Feb;43(2):194-202. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2017-0295. Epub 2017 Oct 17.


Lingonberry anthocyanins protect cardiac cells from oxidative-stress-induced apoptosis.

Isaak CK, Petkau JC, Blewett H, O K, Siow YL.

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2017 Aug;95(8):904-910. doi: 10.1139/cjpp-2016-0667. Epub 2017 Apr 6.


Whole Soy Flour Incorporated into a Muffin and Consumed at 2 Doses of Soy Protein Does Not Lower LDL Cholesterol in a Randomized, Double-Blind Controlled Trial of Hypercholesterolemic Adults.

Padhi EM, Blewett HJ, Duncan AM, Guzman RP, Hawke A, Seetharaman K, Tsao R, Wolever TM, Ramdath DD.

J Nutr. 2015 Dec;145(12):2665-74. doi: 10.3945/jn.115.219873. Epub 2015 Oct 7.


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.

Ames N, Blewett H, Storsley J, Thandapilly SJ, Zahradka P, Taylor C.

Br J Nutr. 2015 May 14;113(9):1373-83. doi: 10.1017/S0007114515000367. Epub 2015 Apr 8.


The reduced proportion of New splenic T-cells in the zinc-deficient growing rat is not due to increased susceptibility to apoptosis.

Blewett HJ, Mohankumar SK, Rech L, Rector ES, Taylor CG.

Immunobiology. 2014 Aug;219(8):602-10. doi: 10.1016/j.imbio.2014.03.001. Epub 2014 Mar 21.


Daily non-soy legume consumption reverses vascular impairment due to peripheral artery disease.

Zahradka P, Wright B, Weighell W, Blewett H, Baldwin A, O K, Guzman RP, Taylor CG.

Atherosclerosis. 2013 Oct;230(2):310-4. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2013.07.048. Epub 2013 Aug 6.


Consumption of buckwheat modulates the post-prandial response of selected gastrointestinal satiety hormones in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Stringer DM, Taylor CG, Appah P, Blewett H, Zahradka P.

Metabolism. 2013 Jul;62(7):1021-31. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2013.01.021. Epub 2013 Feb 26.


Dietary zinc deficiency in rodents: effects on T-cell development, maturation and phenotypes.

Blewett HJ, Taylor CG.

Nutrients. 2012 Jun;4(6):449-66. doi: 10.3390/nu4060449. Epub 2012 Jun 6. Review.


Dietary flaxseed oil reduces adipocyte size, adipose monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 levels and T-cell infiltration in obese, insulin-resistant rats.

Baranowski M, Enns J, Blewett H, Yakandawala U, Zahradka P, Taylor CG.

Cytokine. 2012 Aug;59(2):382-91. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2012.04.004. Epub 2012 May 14.


Human health benefits of vaccenic acid.

Field CJ, Blewett HH, Proctor S, Vine D.

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Oct;34(5):979-91. doi: 10.1139/H09-079. Review.


Vaccenic acid favourably alters immune function in obese JCR:LA-cp rats.

Blewett HJ, Gerdung CA, Ruth MR, Proctor SD, Field CJ.

Br J Nutr. 2009 Aug;102(4):526-36. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509231722. Epub 2009 Feb 16.



  • 2014/1: Associate Editor -Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, Canadian Science Publishing.
  • 2014/1: Adjunct Professor -Physiology and Pathophysiology, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba.
  • 2012/7: Adjunct Professor -Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Manitoba.
  • 2011/5: Principal Investigator -Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine, St. Boniface Hospital Research Centre.