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Associate Professor Therese O’Sullivan

Associate Professor

Contact Information Telephone: +61 8 6304 3529, Mobile: 6304 5384, Email:, Campus: Joondalup, Room: JO21.226
Staff Member Details
Telephone: +61 8 6304 3529
Mobile: 6304 5384
Campus: Joondalup  
Room: JO21.226  


Therese is an Associate Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics and also leads a program of research investigating the potential health benefits of dairy fat in the diet. She is also involved in research into helping new mums with breastfeeding.

Current Teaching

  • NUT6101 Medical Nutrition Therapy 1
  • NUT6105 Medical Nutrition Therapy 2
  • NUT6104 Food Service and Dietetic Management


  • Clinical Dietitian, Private Practice, QLD 2003-2007
  • Senior Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute, WA 2007-2010

Professional Associations

  • Accredited Practising Dietitian
  • Australian Breastfeeding Association
  • Dietitians Association of Australia
  • Nutrition Society of Australia

Awards and Recognition

National and International Awards

  • Dietitians Association of Australia National Award of Merit (for contribution to dietetics) 2011
  • Dietitians Association of Australia Emerging Researcher Award 2010.

University and National Teaching Awards

  • Edith Cowan University Minute to Pitch it runner up 2016
  • Edith Cowan University Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Research by an Early Career Researcher 2015
  • Edith Cowan University Research in a Nutshell runner up 2013


  • Famelab WA state finalist 2014 (communication of science research)

Research Areas and Interests

The Milky Way Study

As seen on Channel 7 news:

Dietary guidelines recommend that children over the age of 2 years consume reduced fat dairy products rather than regular fat dairy. However, emerging research suggests regular fat dairy could have potential health benefits. The aim of this unique study is to investigate the effects of regular fat compared with reduced fat dairy intake on children’s adiposity, heart health and gut health.

To do this, we will conduct a three-month, double blind, randomised controlled trial of regular vs reduced fat dairy products in children aged 4-6 years who normally consume regular fat dairy products. We will assess diet, adiposity, heart health and gut health at baseline and at study end to determine whether any differences exist between those children who have changed to reduced fat dairy, and those who remain consumers of regular fat dairy. We also plan to assess changes between the two diet groups for blood markers of dairy fat intake and compare this to health outcomes. Dairy products will be delivered free to participating families.

Child Centered Research – A Respectful Approach to Research with Children

Ideally, participating in dietary trials should be an enjoyable experience for children. However, some assessments, such as blood sampling, can be unpleasant and stressful. To help generate guidelines for child-centred research, we investigated principles from childcare specialist Magda Gerber's Resources for Infant Educators (1998), consulted with parents in focus groups and liaised with a parenting expert. We identified three relevant principles that can be used to guide research with children: use of authentic communication, acknowledging emotions, and inviting participation. We are working on incorporating these principles into research and evaluating outcomes for parents and children.

Expressing of Colostrum inLate Pregnancy

Although we know breastmilk is best for babies, some mums turn to formula because they feel their milk supply isn’t good enough. The old technique of hand expressing of colostrum in the weeks prior to giving birth may help. Anecdotally, mums report a good milk supply and increased confidence in breastfeeding. But the practice is not routinely recommended, as there are no large-scale studies to support its safety and efficacy in the general population. We have developed an online instructional video for antenatal expressing. This video will help support future large-scale studies, which will provide the evidence required to advocate or avoid this practice.

Additional research interests include: gut health, plant based diets, Mediterranean food patterns and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, food security, the Nutrition Care Process and innovation in dietetics.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, Queensland University of Technology, 2008.
  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement Studies), Queensland University of Technology, 2003.
  • Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition & Dietetics), Queensland University of Technology, 2003.


Recent Research Grants

  • Investigation of the effects of regular-fat versus reduced-fat dairy products on body fat and cardiometabolic health in young children,  Telethon Kids Institute,  Children's Diabetes Centre PhD Top-Up Scholarship,  2018 - 2020,  $15,000.
  • Helping new mums to be better breastfeeders - before their babies are even born,  Department of Health WA,  Near Miss Merit Awards,  2019 - 2020,  $75,000.
  • ReFood - The food sharing network,  Waste Authority,  Community Grant Scheme,  2017 - 2019,  $40,798.
  • Regular fat versus reduced fat dairy consumption: a pilot study of effects on cardiometabolic and gut health in young children,  Department of Health WA,  WA Child Research Fund,  2016 - 2018,  $216,907.
  • Regular fat versus low fat dairy consumption: a pilot study of adiposity and cardiometabolic outcomes in young children,  Telethon Kids Institute,  Grant,  2016 - 2017,  $20,179.
  • University of Washington Collaboration,  Edith Cowan University,  School of Medical and Health Sciences Research Collaboration Travel Grant Scheme 2017,  2017,  $4,500.
  • Regular vs. reduced fat dairy: a pilot study of effects on cardiometabolic and gut health in children,  Edith Cowan University,  School of Medical and Health Sciences Research Grant Scheme 2016,  2016,  $10,000.
  • Redefining ‘good’ fats: Are regular fat dairy products associated with lower metabolic syndrome risk than low fat products in adolescence?,  Dairy Innovation Australia Limited (DIAL),  Dairy Innovation Research Grants,  2011 - 2014,  $102,654.

Recent Publications (within the last five years)

Journal Articles

  • Butcher, L., Ryan, M., O'Sullivan, T., Lo, J., Devine, A., (2019), Food-Insecure Household’s Self-Reported Perceptions of Food Labels, Product Attributes and Consumption Behaviours. Nutrients, 11(4), Article number 828, DOI: 10.3390/nu11040828.
  • Connolly, E., Reinkowsky, M., Giglia, R., Sexton, B., Lyons-Wall, P., Lo, J., O'Sullivan, T., (2019), Education on antenatal colostrum expression and the Baby Friendly Health Initiative in an Australian hospital: An audit of birth and breastfeeding outcomes. Breastfeeding Review, 27(1), 21-30.
  • O'Sullivan, T., Cooke, J., McCafferty, C., Giglia, R., (2019), Online Video Instruction on Hand Expression of Colostrum in Pregnancy is an Effective Educational Tool. Nutrients, 11(4), pii: E883, DOI: 10.3390/nu11040883.
  • Lövestam, E., Steiber, A., Vivanti, A., Boström, A., Devine, A., Haughey, O., Caroline, K., Lang, N., Lieffers, J., Lloyd, L., O'Sullivan, T., Papoutsakis, C., Peersen, C., Thoresen, L., Orrevall, Y., (2019), Use of the Nutrition Care Process and Nutrition Care Process Terminology in an International Cohort Reported by an Online Survey Tool. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 119(2), 225-241, DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2018.09.002.
  • Lovestam, E., Vivanti, A., Steiber, A., Bostrom, A., Devine, A., Haughey, O., Kiss, C., Lang, N., Lieffers, J., Lloyd, L., O'Sullivan, T., Papoutsakis, C., Thoreson, L., Orrevall, Y., (2019), The International Nutrition Care Process and Terminology Implementation Survey: Towards a Global Evaluation Tool to Assess Individual Practitioner Implementation in Multiple Countries and Languages. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 119(2), 242-260, DOI: 10.1016/j.jand.2018.09.004.
  • O'Sullivan, T., Lo, J., Vivanti, A., (2019), Predictors of nutrition care process and terminology use, applicability and importance within Asia‐Pacific dietitians. Nutrition and Dietetics, published online 05 Sept 2018(online), online, DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12467.
  • Butcher, L., O'Sullivan, T., Ryan, M., Lo, J., Devine, A., (2019), Utilising a multi-item questionnaire to assess household food security in Australia. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, Epub ahead of print(tba), tba, DOI: 10.1002/hpja.61.
  • Barber, R., Ekin, A., Sivakumar, P., Howard, K., O'Sullivan, T., (2018), Glucose Gel as a Potential Alternative Treatment to Infant Formula for Neonatal Hypoglycaemia in Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(5), article no.876, DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15050876.
  • Vivanti, A., Lewis, J., O'Sullivan, T., (2018), The Nutrition Care Process Terminology: Changes in perceptions, attitudes, knowledge and implementation amongst Australian dietitians after three years. Nutrition and Dietetics, 75(1), 87-97, Online First published: April 2017, DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12347.
  • Properzi, C., O'Sullivan, T., Sherriff , J., Ching, H., Jeffery, G., Buckley, R., Tibballs, J., Macquillan, G., Garas, G., Adans, L., (2018), Ad libitum Mediterranean and Low Fat Diets both Significantly Reduce Hepatic Steatosis: a Randomized Controlled Trial. Hepatology, 68(5), 1741-1754, DOI: 10.1002/hep.30076.
  • Butcher, L., Ryan, M., O'Sullivan, T., Lo, J., Devine, A., (2018), What Drives Food Insecurity in Western Australia? How the Perceptions of People at Risk Differ to Those of Stakeholders. Nutrients, 10(8), article no.1059, DOI: 10.3390/nu10081059.
  • Nicholl, A., O'Sullivan, T., (2018), Keep Calm and Carry on: Parental Opinions on Improving Clinical Dietary Trials for Young Children. Nutrients, 10(9), article no.1166, DOI: 10.3390/nu10091166.
  • Vivanti, A., O'Sullivan, T., Porter, J., Hogg, M., (2017), Successful long-term maintenance following Nutrition Care Process Terminology implementation across a state-wide health-care system. Nutrition and Dietetics, 74(4), 372-380, DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12346.
  • Nyaradi, A., Li, J., Foster, J., Hickling, S., Jacques, A., O'Sullivan, T., Oddy, W., (2016), Good-quality diet in the early years may have a positive effect on academic achievement. Acta Paediatrica: promoting child health, 105(5), e209-e218, West Sussex, UK, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, DOI: 10.1111/apa.13324.
  • O'Sullivan, T., Bremner, A., Mori, T., Beilin, L., Wilson, C., Hafekost, K., Ambrosini, G., Huang, R., Oddy, W., (2016), Regular Fat and Reduced Fat Dairy Products Show Similar Associations with Markers of Adolescent Cardiometabolic Health. Nutrients, 8(1), 16p., MDPI AG, DOI: 10.3390/nu8010022.
  • Sherriff, J., O'Sullivan, T., Properzi, C., Oddo, J., Adams, L., (2016), Choline, Its Potential Role in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, and the Case for Human and Bacterial Genes. Advances in Nutrition, 7(1), 5-13, American Society for Nutrition, DOI: 10.3945/an.114.007955.
  • O'Sullivan, T., Bremner, A., Bremer, H., Seares, M., Beilin, L., Mori, T., Lyons-Wall, P., Devine, A., Oddy, W., (2015), Dairy product consumption, dietary nutrient and energy density and associations with obesity in Australian adolescents. J Hum Nutr Diet, 28(5), 452-464, New Jersey, USA, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, DOI: 10.1111/jhn.12264.
  • Porter, J., Devine, A., O'Sullivan, T., (2015), Evaluation of a Nutrition Care Process implementation package in hospital dietetic departments. Nutrition and Dietetics, 72(3), 213-221, Richmond, Victoria, Australia, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia, DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12176.
  • Porter, J., Devine, A., Vivanti, A., Ferguson, M., O'Sullivan, T., (2015), Development of a Nutrition Care Process implementation package for hospital dietetic departments. Nutrition and Dietetics, 72(3), 205-212, Richmond, Victoria, Australia, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia, DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12169.
  • Vivanti, A., Ferguson, M., Porter, J., O'Sullivan, T., Hulcombe, J., (2015), Increased familiarity, knowledge and confidence with Nutrition Care Process Terminology following implementation across a statewide health-care system. Nutrition and Dietetics, 72(3), 222-231, Richmond, Victoria, Australia, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia, DOI: 10.1111/1747-0080.12199.
  • Trapp, G., Allen, K., O'Sullivan, T., Robinson, M., Jacoby, P., Oddy, W., (2014), Energy drink consumption is associated with anxiety in Australian young adult males. Depression and Anxiety, 31(5), 420-428, Early view online, Wiley, DOI: 10.1002/da.22175.
  • Trapp, G., Allen, K., O'Sullivan, T., Robinson, M., Jacoby, P., Oddy, W., (2014), Energy drink consumption among young Australian adults: Associations with alcohol and illicit drug use. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 134(1),  30–37, DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2013.09.006.
  • Flood, A., Chung, A., Parker , H., Kearns , V., O'Sullivan, T., (2014), The use of hand grip strength as a predictor of nutrition status in hospital patients. Clinical Nutrition, 33(1), 106-114 , DOI: 10.1016/j.clnu.2013.03.003.
  • Appannah, G., Pot, GK., O'Sullivan, T., Oddy, WH., Jebb, SA., Ambrosini, GL., (2014), The reliability of an adolescent dietary pattern identified using reduced-rank regression: Comparison of a FFQ and 3 d food record. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(4), 609-615, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1017/S0007114514001111.
  • Nicholl, A., Du Heaume, M., Mori, TA., Beilin, LJ., Oddy, WH., Bremner, AP., O'Sullivan, T., (2014), Higher breakfast glycaemic load is associated with increased metabolic syndrome risk, including lower HDL-cholesterol concentrations and increased TAG concentrations, in adolescent girls. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(12), 1974-1983, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1017/S0007114514003092.
  • Piccini, S., Fairburn, A., Gill, E., Budgeon, CA., O'Sullivan, T., (2014), Predictors of malnutrition in Australian haemodialysis patients and comparison of dietary protein intakes to national guidelines. Renal Society of Australasia Journal, 10(3), 133-140, Renal Society of Australasia.
  • O'Sullivan, T., Oddy, WH., Bremner, AP., Sherriff, JL., Ayonrinde, OT., Olynyk, JK., Beilin, LJ., Mori, TA., Adams, LA., (2014), Lower fructose intake may help protect against development of nonalcoholic fatty liver in adolescents with obesity. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 58(5), 624-631, United States, Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, DOI: 10.1097/MPG.0000000000000267.

Research Student Supervision

Co-principal Supervisor

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