Dr Jess Danaher is a Nutrition Scientist and Accredited Practicing Dietitian with a passion for improving the world's food and nutrition-related health through storytelling.Her research and teaching primarily focuses on diet and disease, and translating genomic research into practice to personalise nutrition recommendations.
Jess has a sustained program of original research that focuses on optimising nutrition practice to achieve impactful and sustainable health outcomes. This includes researching what types of diets work best for people depending on their DNA, using various innovations to fight food waste, and designing games to teach nutrition through social play.
She contributes to shaping the world with purpose through proactive involvement in nationally acclaimed engagement programs, including Superstars of STEM and the Oceanic Nutrition Leadership Platform. Here Jess works towards equal representation of women in the media and sustainable food security for Oceania, respectively.
Living up to the motto ‘You cannot be what you cannot see’, Jess sets out to smash stereotypes of what women in science look like and is a role model to young girls and boys, with an active presence in science communication in the media and social media, and as an engaging workshop host at science outreach events.
She has won numerous national and international learning and teaching awards for innovative and engaging tertiary-level science education.
Jess is also responsible for turning complex scientific concepts into easy-to-digest nutrition messages. She works with major Australian media outlets as an engaging, go-to expert on nutrition topics.
Some examples of her recent media work include juicy bite-size expert commentary for Good Food and The Age on 'chocolate-covered strawberries as an aphrodisiac' and 'diet myth-busting', and spilling the tea on 'how caffeine affects the body' for Upstart mag.
The most satisfying part of Jess’ career is that it allows her to keep up to date with the latest nutrition research, sustainable food practices and healthy eating initiatives.
Summary of Responsibilities
Dr Jessica Danaher contributes to teaching and research activities within the Biosciences and Food Technology Discipline, in the School of Science, and specifically within the field of nutrition. Her responsibilities include carrying out teaching activities within undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Food Technology and Nutrition (as well as with overseas partner institutes), and for maintaining and advancing scholarly, research and professional capabilities.
Teaching and Leadership Responsibilities
Jessica is the Program Manager of:
- BP289 Bachelor of Science (Food Technology)/Bachelor of Business (Management)
- BH099 Bachelor of Science (Food Technology & Nutrition)/Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering)(Hons)
Jessica is the Course Coordinator of:
- ONPS2135 Food Toxicology, Allergens and Health (Undergraduate)
- OHTH2068 Nutrition, Health and Disease (Undergraduate)
- OHTH2080 Nutrition, Health and Disease (Postgraduate)
These courses are offered to Bachelor of Science (Food Technology and Nutrition) students at RMIT Melbourne and the Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Masters of Food Science and Technology students at RMIT Melbourne.
- PhD (Biomedical Science), Victoria University (2012 - 2017)
- Masters of Dietetics, Deakin University (2015 - 2016)
- BSc Hon (Nutritional Therapy), Victoria University (2008 - 2011)
- Clinical Bone Densitometry, Australian & New Zealand Bone & Mineral Society (2012)
- IV Cannulation & Phlebotomy, a+a Training (2012)
- Certificate III in Fitness (Fitness Instructor) (2007)
- STEM Early Career Teaching Excellence Award, STEM College, RMIT University (2021)
- Superstar of STEM 2021-22, Science and Technology Australia (2020)
- Executive Dean’s Teaching Award, School of Science, RMIT University (2019)
- Recognition of Outstanding Student Experience (ROSE) Award, College of Science, Health and Engineering, RMIT University (2019)
- Excellence Award for ‘Extraordinary Achievement in the 2018 Teaching Visit Program in China’, Australian Education Management Group (2019)
Jessica's previous academic and industry roles include:
- New Graduate Clinical Dietitian (St. Vincent's Hospital Melbourne, 2017)
- Sessional Lecturer (Deakin University, 2017)
- Phlebotomist (The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, 2017)
- Research Fellow (Deakin University, 2016)
- Victoria Clinical Director: Health Promotion (Special Olympics Australia, 2014 - 2017)
- Sessional Academic: Lecturer and Lab Demonstrator (Victoria University, 2012 - 2015)
- Superstars of STEM, Science and Technology Australia (STA)
- Oceanic Nutrition Leadership Platform (ONLP)
- Dietitians Australia (DA)
- Diet myths busted: Why breakfast isn't the most important meal. The Age and Good Food, Feb 2021.
- The science of why we love chocolate and strawberries on Valentine's Day. The Age and Good Food, Feb 2021.
- How caffeine affects the body. Upstart, June 2021.
- What’s next for the future of nutrition? RMIT, December, 2019.
- Long term effectiveness of high protein diets. SBS Radio (Serbian and English), May 2019.
- Open Classrooms Podcast Series (RMIT University College of Science, Engineering and Health): Guest Presenter for Episodes 1 and 9 (2019)
- The 'Perfect Storm' Of Mistakes Students Make When Studying. Channel 10 Daily, Oct 2018.
- Diet fads. Lost in Science 3CR Community Radio, Nov 2018.
- Egg-cellent way to prevent malnutrition. Aged Care Insite, Oct 2017.
- Hassan, L.,Newman, L.,Keast, R.,Danaher, J.,Biesiekierski, J. (2023). The effect of gastrointestinal bitter sensing on appetite regulation and energy intake: A systematic review In: Appetite, 180, 1 - 10
- Hopkins, I.,Farahnaky, A.,Gill, H.,Danaher, J.,Newman, L. (2023). Food neophobia and its association with dietary choices and willingness to eat insects In: Frontiers in Nutrition, 10, 1 - 10
- Hopkins, I.,Farahnaky, A.,Gill, H.,Newman, L.,Danaher, J. (2022). Australians’ experience, barriers and willingness towards consuming edible insects as an emerging protein source In: Appetite, 169, 1 - 9
- Hanson, E.,Cooke, M.,Anderson, M.,Gerber, T.,Danaher, J.,Stathis, C. (2022). Heat Acclimation with or without Normobaric Hypoxia Exposure Leads to Similar Improvements in Endurance Performance in the Heat In: Sports, 10, 1 - 16
- Pasumarthy, S.,Patibanda, R.,Tai, E.,van den Hoven, E.,Danaher, J.,Khot, R. (2022). Gooey Gut Trail: Board Game Play to Understand Human-Microbial Interactions In: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 6, 1 - 31
- Pasumarthy, S.,Tai, E.,Khot, R.,Danaher, J. (2021). Gooey Gut Trail : Demystifying Human Gut Health Through a Board Game In: Proceedings of the 13th Conference on Creativity and Cognition (C&C '21), Virtual event, Italy, 22-23 June 2021
- Hopkins, I.,Newman, L.,Gill, H.,Danaher, J. (2021). The Influence of Food Waste Rearing Substrates on Black Soldier Fly Larvae Protein Composition: A Systematic Review In: Insects, 12, 1 - 20
- Danaher, J.,Stathis, C.,Wilson, R.,Moreno-Asso, A.,Wellard, M.,Cooke, M. (2020). High intensity exercise downregulates FTO mRNA expression during the early stages of recovery in young males and females In: Nutrition and Metabolism, 17, 1 - 14
- Lockrey, S.,Verghese, K.,Danaher, J.,Newman, L.,Barichello, V. (2019). The role of packaging for Australian fresh produce In: Australian Fresh Produce Alliance Melbourne, Australia
- Danaher, J.,Stathis, C.,Cooke, M. (2019). Similarities in metabolic flexibility and hunger hormone ghrelin exist between FTO gene variants in response to an acute dietary challenge In: Nutrients, 11, 1 - 12
2 PhD Current Supervisions and 1 Masters by Research Current Supervisions
- Play with your food! Evaluating sustainable food acceptance in children using a targeted multi-level education program. Funded by: Allen Foundation Grant 2018 onwards from (2022 to 2024)
- Do we need plastic packaging to retain nutrition in the Australian fresh food environment?. Funded by: L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science Fellowship Grant from (2019 to 2020)
- The influence of gene variants on physiological responses to a calorie reduced Mediterranean diet; A nutritional genomics focus. Funded by: Allen Foundation Grant 2018 onwards from (2018 to 2022)