The Joannah & Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition (Lawson Centre) is a model for interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research. Together, our researchers in nutritional sciences, paediatrics, family and community medicine, social determinants of health, behavioural science, anthropology, health policy, food supply and regulation, communication, and education will help us realize our common vision.


Our network of experts helps to shape health policies and guidelines, clinical practice, and product innovations in the food industries to improve the health of children of all ages in Canada and around the world. The University of Toronto’s international collaborations in China, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Bangladesh, and many other countries help to spread our ideas worldwide.

Our network consists of:

Lawson Centre's Core Researchers

The Lawson Centre's core researchers are from the departments of:

The Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital

The knowledge translation methodologies and population health research of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute helps the Lawson Centre translate discovery about the role of children’s nutrition into new models of social and health care, and make recommendations for health care policy and clinical practice reform.

The Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development

The Institute brings together researchers in the health, education, and social sciences. Their mission is to understand how genetic and environmental factors interact during the first 2,000 days of life and impact an individual’s overall health and susceptibility to disease throughout life. The Lawson Centre is a children’s nutrition node within the Institute’s network. Together, we explore environmental influences that foster healthy fetal and neonatal development, as well as those which predispose individuals to enter specific disease trajectories.

The Hospital for Sick Children

With 225 principal investigators and over 1,000 trainees, SickKids Research Institute is Canada’s largest hospital-based, child health research institution. Nearly all of SickKids' clinical researchers are appointed by the Department of Paediatrics, with a large number cross-appointed with the other two lead departments.

TARGet Kids!

TARGet Kids!, led by Drs. Patricia Parkin, Jonathon Maguire and Catherine Birken, provides helpful insight into the long-term effects of childhood conditions through engagement with primary care doctors. The project is a collaborative study between researchers and physicians that will improve the quality of children’s health as they grow into adulthood by addressing obesity, nutritional deficiencies and developmental problems. 

University of Toronto Collaborators

The Lawson Centre builds on existing and new relationships within the U of T community. Currently, our partners include:

External Collaborators

The Lawson Centre’s external partners include provincial and federal governments, professional associations, the food industry, consumers, nutrition advocates, and NGOs. They help us with determining our strategic directions. Working with our food industry partners is essential in applying the Lawson Centre’s discoveries in practice and advocating for improved nutrition and food security to the people around the world. At the same time, collaborating with government agencies ensures food and nutrition policy is in line with our latest findings for the benefit of families in Canada and abroad.

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