Meet The Researcher


Dr Vivienne Guan

University of Wollongong

Let’s get started! Tell us an interesting fact about yourself...
I love food, science and helping people.
What inspired you to get involved in MS research?
I worked on an MS research project during the first year of my postdoc. I found that there is a strong patient need to have support and advice on evidence-based dietary recommendations for self-managing their diets. However, limited research has been done in this area. It makes me want to develop a tool to support them to self-manage their food choices based on evidence.
What do you think has been the most exciting development in MS research?
Exciting developments in MS research are the increasing recognition of modifiable lifestyle factors, such as diet and exercise in relation to MS symptom management and disease progression.
Tell us about your current research project...
This project will focus on combining various novel models of machine learning with over 17 years of dietetic practice from our research team to develop a state-of-the-art dietary tracking tool. It will allow users to easily track their food intake by simply taking a picture of their food.
Why is your research important and how will it influence the understanding and treatment of MS?
This project will focus on using recent breakthroughs in machine learning to develop a state-ofthe- art dietary tracking tool for use by people living with MS. It will be integrated into an app for tailored dietary advice for people living with MS. This relatively effortless tool will enhance the user’s self-efficacy and esteem, reduce stress, improve coping skills and improve general quality of life, with lower costs and greater availability for people who are living with MS.
What do you enjoy most about working in the lab and what are some of the challenges you face?
My favourite thing about being a dietitian and a researcher is to translate the evidence into food choices, which can help people improve their diet to become healthier and stay healthy. I am constantly trying to find new ways to empower people with tools to manage their diet and health. I enjoy the challenges I face during conducting my research.
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Dr Vivienne Guan