U of G Pet Nutrition Expert Receives Research Excellence Award

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photos of Prof. Adronie Verbrugghe smiling with a cat in her arms

Prof. Adronie Verbrugghe

Prof. Adronie Verbrugghe, has received a Research Excellence Award from the University of Guelph to continue her studies of canine and feline nutrition.

Created by U of G’s Office of Research and the Office of the Provost, Research Excellence Awards highlight research achievements of recently tenured faculty members.

“It is a great honour to receive a Research Excellence Award from the University of Guelph,” said Verbrugghe, Department of Clinical Studies at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), who credits the OVC nutrition team. “Research can only be excellent if it is a team effort.”

As the Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Endowed Chair in Canine and Feline Clinical Nutrition, Verbrugghe explores how pet nutrition affects metabolic pathways, inflammation and immunity, as well as the microbial environment in the gut – all of which are factors in obesity.

She’s also looking at nutritional supplements for canine cancer patients and plant-based diets for pets.

“The impact of nutrition on health is a crucial, incredibly timely area of research, particularly as it applies to veterinary medicine,” said Malcolm Campbell, U of G vice-president (research). “Professor Verbrugghe’s research explores the interplay between nutrition and medical outcomes, making fundamental discoveries and creating impactful innovations.”

Referring to connections among environmental, human and animal health embodied in OVC’s “One Health” approach, Gordon Kirby, OVC associate dean, research and innovation, said, “This award is not only a well-deserved acknowledgment of Dr. Verbrugghe’s continued commitment to research excellence, but it also highlights OVC’s considerable strengths in One Health and translational discovery.”

One of the few board-certified veterinary nutritionists in Canada, Verbrugghe provides a clinical nutrition service in the Companion Animal Hospital at the OVC Health Sciences Centre.

She helped lead the development and introduction of a companion animal nutrition curriculum that enables DVM grads to help pet owners better feed their pets.

“Nutrition is a critical component in preventive care for both the human population and our animal companions,” said OVC dean Jeff Wichtel. “Dr. Verbrugghe’s research is an excellent example of collaborative work under way with the Ontario Veterinary College, the Ontario Agricultural College and our private-sector partners, emphasizing our strengths as an emerging centre for companion animal and comparative nutritional research.”

Verbrugghe is currently leading plans for an inaugural Global Nutrition Summit called “What Does the Future Hold for Feeding Animals?” to take place at U of G in August 2020.