Alison Duncan, Professor/PhD, RD, FDC

Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
University of Guelph

Alison Duncan is a Professor and Associate Director of Research at the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit, in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph. Alison’s academic training is all in nutrition with BASc in Applied Human Nutrition from the University of Guelph, training to become a Registered Dietitian at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, a MSc in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto and a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Minnesota. Her teaching and research relate to the biological effects of functional foods on chronic disease-related endpoints evaluated in human intervention studies, with a particular focus on the agri-food-health continuum. Alison is currently serving as the Research Program Director for the Knowledge Translation and Transfer program of the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. Alison currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Nutrition and as President of the Canadian Nutrition Society and was recently named a Fellow of the Dietitians of Canada.

Role of human milk oligosaccharides in development of the gut microbiome and relevance to human health


This session will examine the role of human milk oligosaccharides in the development of the microbiome and relevance to human health. Speakers will examine that ability of human milk oligosaccharides to act as prebiotics and modulate composition of the gut microbiota in early life. The relevance of these changes in the gut microbiota will then be examined in reference to cognitive development, the immune system and protection against childhood asthma.

Learning Objectives:

1. Describe human milk oligosaccharide structures and understand how they support infant development.

2. Identify how human milk oligosaccharides act as a prebiotic to modulate the composition of the gut microbiota.

3. Understand the connection between the modulation of gut microbiota by human milk oligosaccharides and improvement of health outcomes including cognition, immunity and protection against asthma.