Todd Rideout - 2005 Winning Essay

Most of us have in some way been affected by the emotional, financial, and life-altering consequences associated with cardiovascular disease. Statistically, heart disease is the number one cause of mortality in North America, but the profound impact it has on a life is immeasurable. Regrettably, the diet is an often overlooked preventative strategy that can slow the progression and even initiate the regression of an arterial lesion.

I am fascinated by the relationship between food and health, and have directed my research career toward gaining a better understanding of how specific nutrients trigger the molecular events responsible for cardiovascular disease. My path has led me to the University of Guelph where I recently completed a Master's degree and am currently enrolled as a Ph.D. student in the human nutrition field. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to collaborate with some of Canada's leading food research scientists during my employment with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

As my undergraduate degree was not related to the nutritional sciences, I initially faced a difficult challenge conducting advanced graduate research in a discipline that was foreign to me. However, the past few years have been very rewarding and I have been the grateful recipient of several scholarships, most notably the Ontario Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology. Upon completion of my Ph.D. program, I hope to begin a post-doctoral position with the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation and eventually direct my own research program exploring the molecular link between diet and cardiovascular disease.