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.

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

  1. Santiago, A., Ryland, D., Cui, S., Blewett, H., Aliani, M. (2019). Effect of milled flaxseed and storage conditions on sensory properties and selected bioactive compounds in banana and cinnamon muffins used in a clinical trial, 99(2), 831-843. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.9253

    2019 - View publication details

  2. Isaak, C.K., Petkau, J.C., Blewett, H., Karmin, O., Siow, Y.L. (2017). Lingonberry anthocyanins protect cardiac cells from oxidative-stress-induced apoptosis, 95(8), 904-910. http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/cjpp-2016-0667

    2017 - View publication details

  3. Siow, Y.L., Isaak, C.K., Prashar, S., Wong, M.H., Bhusal, A., O, K., Brown, D., Debnath, S., Ross, K., Blewett, H., Aliani, M., and Utioh, A. (2016) Health benefits of emerging crops in Canada. Therapeutic Applications of Functional Food and Bioactives, April 21-23, 2016 Winnipeg, Canada. Invited Speaker.

    2016 - View publication details

  4. Siow, Y.L., Debnath, S.C., Brown, D.C.W., Blewett, H.J., and Rossebnath, R. (2015). "Lingonberries the next super fruit.", Farm Focus, April 1, 2015.

    2015 - View publication details

  5. Siow, Y.L., Brown, D.C.W., Blewett, H.J., Debnath, S.C., and Ross, K.A. (2015). Lingonberry: characterization and preserving an emerging bioresource for Canada. Project ID: 13-1129; Research Project Annual Report 2014-2015., AAFC Science and Technology Branch. (Report)

    2015 - View publication details

  6. Siow, Y.L., Debnath, S.C., Brown, D.C.W., Blewett, H.J., and Rossebnath, R. (2015). Lure of the lingonberry: win-win for northern agriculture and heart health., Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

    2015 - View publication details

  7. Padhi, E., Ramdath, D.D., Carson, S.J., Hawke, A., Blewett, H.J., Wolever, T.M.S., Vella, D., Seetharaman, K., Duizer, L.M., and Duncan, A.M. (2015). "Liking of soy flour muffins over time and the impact of a health claim on willingness to consume.", Food Research International, 77(Part 3), pp. 491-497. doi : 10.1016/j.foodres.2015.09.006

    2015 - View publication details

  8. Padhi, E.M.T., Blewett, H.J., Duncan, A.M., Guzman, R.P., Hawke, A., Seetharaman, K., Tsao, R., Wolever, T.M.S., Ramdath, D.D. (2015). 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, 145(12), 2665-2674. http://dx.doi.org/10.3945/jn.115.219873

    2015 - View publication details

  9. 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, 113(9), 1373-1383. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114515000367

    2015 - View publication details

  10. Siow, Y.L., Brown, D.C.W., Blewett, H.J., Debnath, S.C., and Ross, K.A. (2014). Lingonberry: characterization and preserving an emerging bioresource for Canada. Project ID: 13-1129; Research Project Annual Report 2013-2014, AAFC Science and Technology Branch. (Report)

    2014 - View publication details

Research facility

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


  • 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.