NutriEdu researchers

This page introduces the dedicated researchers who are pursuing opportunities and novel applications in nutrition eductation. Please contact them individually if you have questions or would like to request more information. For general inquiries, you can contact us here.

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Cherry Tomatoes at the Farmers Market

Dr Tamara Bucher

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Dr Bucher is a Senior Lecturer and Consumer Behaviour researcher at the University of Newcastle. She holds a Bachelor’s and Masters in Biology and a Masters of Advanced Studies in Human Nutrition and Health from ETH Zurich (ETHZ), Switzerland. During her PhD she developed and validated an innovative method for consumer behaviour research using ‘fake foods’. Dr Bucher joined the University of Newcastle (UoN) Priority Research Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition (PRCPAN) in 2014 with a Swiss National Science Fellowship, to collaborate with dietitians and engineers and to combine her methods with augmented reality and other smart technologies and develop applications in nutrition education. Dr Bucher’s combination of natural science and social science research skills has enabled her to develop and lead a consumer behavior and nutrition education research program at the UON. Dr Bucher and her team are investigating ambient influences on food choice and how we can use this knowledge to facilitate healthy eating.

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Dr Nienke de Vlieger

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Nienke found her way to Australia while studying for her MSc in Nutrition & Health at the highly regarded Wageningen University in the Netherlands. A 4-month internship was required and she was able to complete this at the University of Newcastle and introduced her to the world of research and particularly nutrition education as a successful health intervention. She was fortunate enough to be offered a scholarship by the University of Newcastle and it was not long until she returned to Newcastle to start a PhD focused on nutrition education for children. She believes the future of a healthy population lies in proper nutrition education for children.

‘If we teach the children how to eat right, cook, and think critically about the overload of ads and information about foods they are confronted with in their daily life, we might have a shot. It might only be one part of the puzzle, but we need to break the cycle of our unhealthy dietary patterns now and I think it starts with teaching the children how to do it right.’

During her PhD, she worked hard towards this goal. She has developed a reliable nutrition knowledge survey for children, which will help aid the development of successful nutrition education interventions all throughout Australia. In addition, in collaboration with software engineers from the University of Newcastle, she created an educational game with the purpose of teaching children about nutrition in a fun and time-efficient way. The game is called VitaVillage, and you can read more about it here.


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Angeliek Verdonschot

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Angeliek is a PhD candidate and her research is about nutrition education programs in Dutch and Australian primary schools. Her project aims to gain insight into effective components of these nutrition education programs, and to improve nutrition education for Dutch and Australian primary school children. The overall aim is to improve healthy eating behaviour among children and to attack the problem of childhood obesity. 

Her PhD project is a Dual Award Doctoral Degree (DADD) between Wageningen University & Research (WUR) and University of Newcastle (UoN, Australia). This means that she will do part of my research in the Netherlands and partly (two years) in Australia. The collaboration between WUR and UoN is valuable since both countries offer similar educational contexts with comparable large scale programs to improve healthy eating behaviour among children. 

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Berit Follong

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Berit Follong started her academic career at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands. She completed a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Health (Wageningen University) with a minor in Sport, Exercise and Health (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) by the end of 2014. After this, she continued with a Master of Science in Nutrition and Health, focussing on Nutrition Physiology and Health Status. During this 2-year Master, she was given the opportunity to do an internship at the University of Newcastle in Australia. This internship opened her eyes to all the career prospects that she might have. To broaden her scope of view on Nutrition and Health, she commenced a Master in Health Sciences (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). It was during this 1-year period that she contacted her previous supervisors at the University of Newcastle to discuss her career as a PhD student. Berit is now at the start of her career as a researcher in the field of Nutrition and Mathematics education for primary school children. Check out her project 'CUPS' here.


Daphne van der Bend

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Daphne’s interest for nutrition science developed during the Master Nutrition & Health (specialisation: Epidemiology & Public Health) at Wageningen University. She did her Master thesis at the University of Newcastle (UoN), analysing trends in Australian children’s portion sizes under supervision of Prof. Clare Collins1 and was involved in Dr. Tamara Bucher’s consumer behaviour research. In the 1.5 years following her Master, she was Trainee at the Dutch consultancy Schuttelaar & Partners, where she studied the influence of the Dutch Healthy Choices front-of-pack logo on product reformulation2 and was involved in projects advising food industry in the area of nutrition and health. However, she realised that research was more her thing, and found a job as research assistant and junior researcher at the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam). During this period, she continued working for the International Choices program as freelancer, and published an article on European front-of-pack labels3. In February 2019 she started a Dual Award Doctoral Degree PhD at the UoN, with Dr. Tamara Bucher (School of Health Sciences, UoN) and Dr. Ellen van Kleef (Marketing & Consumer Behaviour Group, Wageningen University & Research) as her main supervisors.