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Dr. Michel Aliani

Dr. Michel Aliani

Principal Investigator
Nutritional Metabolomics Research, Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba

Adjunct Professor
Physiology and Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba

Research Focus

Functional food is any food claimed to have a health-promoting or disease-preventing property beyond the basic function of supplying nutrients. Nutritional interventions using functional foods have had a considerable role as legitimate therapeutic strategies to combat common metabolic disorders in Canada and around the world.

Acceptability of functional foods is a constantly evolving challenge to nutritional interventions where compliance is a key factor for success. The incorporation of novel ingredients in functional foods may shift the molecular balance of flavour precursors which can compromise consumer acceptability. Therefore, understanding the molecular interactions among natural flavour precursors and added bioactive compounds is crucial to our understanding of flavour formation in functional foods. Once ingested, the bioactive compounds are susceptible to major changes in the body with the formation of novel compounds engaged in different biochemical pathways. The metabolomics studies of the metabolites derived from functional foods in the body are extremely informative on the effects exerted by these compounds.

The focus of Dr. Aliani’s research is therefore twofold.

  1. To provide the scientific and molecular basis for the development and successful marketing of functional foods targeted to patients as well as healthy populations in the world and
  2. To investigate the effect of active compounds on metabolic pathways in animal and human models.

About Dr. Michel Aliani

Michel Aliani is a Professor at the Department of Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba and a member of the Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He was educated in France (B.Sc. and Engineering degree in Agri-Food Biochemistry) and in Northern Ireland (Ph.D., and Post-doctoral at Queen’s University Belfast) prior to moving to the University of Manitoba in 2007. His area of scientific expertise includes food science, mass spectrometry and metabolomics.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Michel Aliani
Tel. (204) 235-3048
Fax. (204) 237-4018
Email. or



Perception, Chemistry and Food Processing

Michel Aliani and Michael N. A. Eskin provide a thorough review of bitterness that includes an understanding of the genetics of bitterness perception and the molecular basis for individual differences in bitterness perception. This is followed by a detailed review of the chemical structure of bitter compounds in foods where bitterness may be considered to be a positive or negative attribute. To better understand bitterness in foods, separation and analytical techniques used to identify and characterize bitter compounds are also covered.

Food processing can itself generate compounds that are bitter, such as the Maillard reaction and lipid oxidation-related products. Since bitterness is considered a negative attribute in many foods, the methods being used to remove and/mask it is also thoroughly discussed.

You can purchase your own 264-page hardback copy of Bitterness, Perception, Chemistry and Food Processing. Visit


Functional Foods and Chronic Disease

Role of Sensory, Chemistry and Nutrition

Functional Foods and Chronic Disease: Role of Sensory, Chemistry and Nutrition explores the range of functional foods that are effective against a wide range of chronic diseases and addresses the impact of functional food bioactive compounds on organoleptic properties. Beginning with an introduction that details the key sensory and advanced instrumental methods essential for addressing the common problems associated with designing functional foods, the book also addresses the impact of aging and chronic diseases on sensory acuity as well as the effectiveness of functional foods in treating a wide range of chronic diseases.

Sections highlight the need for acceptable functional foods for individuals suffering from a wide range of chronic diseases and contain practical recommendations for their development. Food scientists, nutritionists, dietitians, food product developers, food supplement producers, food ingredient developers, natural product scientists, herbalists, and pharmacists, as well as students studying related areas, will benefit from this important resource.

Available February 1, 2024 –


Life In the Lab