Dr Lisa Te Morenga

University of Otago
PhD

Lisa is a Research Fellow in the Department of Human Nutrition.

Lisa (Ngāti Whātua, Te Rarawa) is a Research Fellow in the Department of Human Nutrition and is affiliated with the Riddet Institute – a National Centre of Research Excellence in food science and nutrition. Lisa works closely with Professor Jim Mann and collaborates with researchers associated with the Edgar National Centre for Diabetes and Obesity Research at the University of Otago Medical School. She started her working career as a Forestry Scientist with the New Zealand Forest Research Institute after graduating with a BForSc(Hons) from the University of Canterbury in 1993. In 2004 she decided to change career path completing a BSc in Human Nutrition in 2005 and a PhD on “the effects of macronutrient composition on risk of diabetes” in 2010, both at the University of Otago.

Lisa’s primary motivation is to undertake research that is of direct benefit to Māori and thus focuses on the role of nutrition in the development of preventable diseases that inflict a particularly high health burden on the Maori community. She is actively engaged with Maori students and academic staff at the University of Otago and developing research relationships with Ngāti Whātua that are necessary to be able to contribute to kaupapa Maori health research.

Her research interests involve the effects of macronutrient composition on physiological endpoints associated with increased risk of preventable diseases including obesity, the metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Key macronutrient interests are dietary fibre, protein and sugars. Current and recent research projects include:

  • The effectiveness of culturally appropriate dietary advice regarding sugars reduction on risk of gout and cardiovascular diseases in Maori adults (in collaboration with Ngāti Whātua).
  • Development of a brief instrument to assess dietary sugars intakes in Maori and Pacific populations that can be used to explore relationships between sugars intake and health outcomes such as hyperuricaemia, gout, diabetes and increased cardiovascular disease risk.
  • Systematic review and meta-analysis of studies examining the effect of added dietary sugars on health outcomes including adiposity, blood pressure and lipids.
  • Dietary intervention study examining the effects of consuming large quantities of different beverages that contain different types of dietary sugars or sweetener on serum uric acid and other risk factors for the metabolic syndrome in individuals who are at risk of developing diabetes.
  • Dietary intervention study comparing the effect of sugars in sugar drinks versus fresh fruit on serum uric acid and metabolic syndrome risk factors in overweight and obese adults.
  • Development and validation of the Dynamic Insulin Sensitivity and Secretion Test (DISST) for use in clinical and experimental settings.
  • Examination of trends in obesity prevalence in New Zealand using the data from recent New Zealand Adult Nutrition Surveys.

Dr Te Morenga's profile - link to: http://www.otago.ac.nz/humannutrition/staff/otago063557.html