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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.

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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.

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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.​

Georgia Middleton
PhD Candidate
Food Culture Health

I am a dietitian and PhD candidate with a passion for food and health research. I have been involved in several qualitative research projects surrounding food education, community nutrition, food insecurity, and food culture. With a particular interest in family food and nutrition behaviours, my PhD research is focussed on the changes to the family meal over the last quarter of a century, and the barriers and facilitators to the family meal now. Through my research, I hope to contribute to the ever-expanding field of nutrition, health, and wellbeing, and make a positive impact on individuals and families across the globe.

Lucie Bernod
Honours Student
Food Culture Health
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Kristen Foley
Project Officer and Research Associate
Food Culture Health

As a final year Nutrition and Dietetic student, my interest in food has evolved into one that considers the social, cultural and environmental aspects of food consumption. I’m particularly passionate about addressing ‘food problems’ in populations most affected by social inequities. Increasing access to healthy, affordable and culturally significant foods is a crucial piece of the puzzle when advocating for the health and well-being of others.  I’m excited to be embarking on my honours project which will explore ways in which food provision tasks can be shared more equally between mum and dad.

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.

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