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Professor John Coveney
Professor and Convenor
Food, Culture and Health

As a Professor of Global Food, Culture and Health at Flinders University I explore the relationships between food, food choice and health in both social and cultural settings. My aim is to improve health and well-being by engaging with ‘wicked problems’ in real life situations involving food. Using leadership skills that encompass courage, advocacy, teamship and optimism, I take a big picture view and apply best practice methodology to research. I am a well-regarded researcher in my field whereby I have a track record of translating policy into practice with global research networks that extend to France, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany and New Zealand.

Dr Stefania Velardo
Social Scientist
Food Culture Health

I am a social scientist with expertise in qualitative research methods. My projects broadly centre on the social, cultural and economic influences on people’s relationships with food, with a special interest in children’s food-related understanding and experiences. As such, I am particularly interested in inclusive centred-methodologies, on the premise that children are active beings who can make meaningful contributions to research and practice.

Dr Fidelma Breen
Social Scientist
Food Culture Health

I am a human geographer and social scientist with expertise in mixed research methods. My background is in history, migration and population studies. Regardless of subject area I enjoy research which has real-world impact and particularly that which utilises citizen scientists and exposes members of the public to academic methodology, thought and practice. I am currently involved in several projects with themes as diverse as public and private spaces, smart technologies for older South Australians and the impact of modern life and homework on family dinner time through the Dinnertime Matters project. 

Dr Karen Patterson
Research Scientist
Food Culture Health

I am an immunologist who studies autoimmune disease. Some of my research interests are how stress affects the immune system and the developmental origins of disease. How does this relate to food, culture and health you may ask? The culture and environment in which we live and the food that we eat has a profound effect on our health and wellbeing. I am interested in exploring ways to increase immunological and psychological health via social connectedness.  I am also interested in investigating the effects of nutrition and stress in the context again through the lens of social connectedness. 

I have a strong interest in translating research into practice so that the benefits of research are realised. 

Dr Carol Anne Hartwick-Pflaum

Global Senior Consumer Scientist

Mars Food Global C.V.


I am a passionate and driven food industry professional, specialising and experienced in the areas of consumer behaviour, food cultures, public health and food safety. Practical industry and scientific experience gained through education, training and global industry roles in R&D, health communication and academia on an international level.​

Kristen Foley
Project Officer and Research Associate
Food Culture Health

I am intrigued by the ways food, culture and health are intertwined. Food itself and the many things which happen around it are shaped by the sociocultural or sociopolitical structures of our lives. I’m currently exploring these linkages in the context of primary school aged family school week dinner time as part of the Dinnertime Matters Project.

© 2018 by Karen Patterson