Knowledge for a sustainable world

BVSc (Hons), PhD

Dr Julia de Bruyn is an interdisciplinary researcher with a focus on nutrition, livestock and food systems in the Global South. Her research centres on strategies to support sustainable and equitable improvements in dietary quality, with a focus on women and children in rural settings. Julia joined the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) in early 2018, and currently coordinates nutrition-related activities through the NRI’s Food Systems for Improved Nutrition development programme.

Julia completed her PhD at the University of Sydney in 2017, while working as a research assistant on an agriculture-nutrition project in Tanzania and Zambia, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. Her PhD thesis used mixed methods approaches to evaluate the contributions of chicken-keeping to dietary adequacy and growth of young children in rural communities in central Tanzania. Julia has previously worked as a veterinarian in Australia, the United Kingdom and on poultry health programmes in sub-Saharan Africa.

Julia has experience in the design and use of participatory research tools and inclusive training programmes, which are gender-sensitive, culturally-appropriate, and accessible to audiences of varying educational backgrounds. This has included adapting extension materials and leading training courses for rural women and men in Tanzania, Zambia and Madagascar; and developing and validating a novel method for participant-recorded dietary data in Tanzania (as a Fellow of the Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) scheme in 2018-2019).

Recent work has included characterising diets and food resources in indigenous and non-indigenous communities in the Amazonas Region of Peru; evaluating food-based strategies to combat micronutrient deficiencies in West Africa; and supporting a Social and Behaviour Change Communication strategy to increase milk consumption in smallholder dairy households in Kenya. Julia is currently involved in supervision of doctoral students engaged in research on food systems and nutrition in Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda.

  • Strategies to support equitable access to healthy diets, particularly for women and children in rural settings
  • Community-based livestock health programmes
  • Livestock-nutrition linkages in low- and middle-income countries
  • Innovative tools to study food systems
  • Participatory methods for research and knowledge sharing
  • Cross-cultural and interdisciplinary communication.
  • Validation of ICTs for understanding women’s time use, dietary diversity, childcare and hygiene practices (2021-2023). UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • MoreMilk Social Behaviour Change Communication (2020). Consultancy through the International Livestock Research Institute, funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK Aid.
  • Intercultural models to improve nutrition and health of indigenous populations through gender-sensitive agroforestry practices in Peru (2019-2022). UK Research and Innovation Medical Research Council and Newton Fund.
  • Food Fortification Advisory Services – Integrated Strategies for Micronutrient Deficiency Reduction (2019-2021). European Commission.
  • Participatory approaches to support healthy food choices in a low income context (2019-2020). Higher Education Innovation Fund, University of Greenwich.
  • Developing low-cost methods to document seasonal variation in household dietary diversity and access to target food resources in low-literacy settings (2018-2019). UK Department for International Development, Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Action (IMMANA) Fellowship.
  • Increasing the Development Impact of Agricultural Research (2017). Consultancy through the University of Sydney, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia Awards Program.
  • Control Of Newcastle Disease In Madagascar With A Special Emphasis On The Makira Protected Area (2016). Consultancy through the International Rural Poultry Centre of Kyeema Foundation, funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society and San Francisco Zoo.

Journal publications

  • Rukambile E, Muscatello G, Sintchenko V, Thomson PC, Maulaga W, Mmassy R, de Bruyn J, Kock R, Darnton-Hill I & Alders R. (2020). Determinants of diarrhoeal diseases and height-for-age z-scores in children under five years of age in rural central Tanzania. Journal of Preventive Medicine and Hygiene, 61(3), E409.
  • de Bruyn J, Msuya J & Ferguson E. (2019). Evaluating pictorial charts as a means of collecting participant-recorded data on household dietary diversity in low-literacy communities in Tanzania. British Journal of Nutrition, 112(12): 1432-1440.
  • de Bruyn J, Thomson PC, Darnton-Hill I, Bagnol B, Maulaga W & Alders RG. (2018). Does Village Chicken-Keeping Contribute to Young Children's Diets and Growth? A Longitudinal Observational Study in Rural Tanzania. Nutrients, 10(11).
  • de Bruyn J, Bagnol B, Darnton-Hill I, Maulaga W, Thomson PC & Alders R. (2017). Characterising infant and young child feeding practices and the consumption of poultry products in rural Tanzania: A mixed methods approach. Maternal & Child Nutrition, e12550.
  • de Bruyn J, Thomson PC, Bagnol B, Maulaga W, Rukambile E & Alders RG. (2017). The chicken or the egg? Exploring bi-directional associations between Newcastle disease vaccination and village chicken flock size in rural Tanzania. PLoS One, 12(11), e0188230.
  • Alders R, de Bruyn J, Wingett K & Wong J. (2017). One Health, Veterinarians and the nexus between disease and food security. Australian Veterinary Journal, 95(12), 451-453.
  • Wong JT, de Bruyn J, Bagnol B, Grieve H, Li M, Pym R & Alders RG. (2017). Small-scale poultry and food security in resource-poor settings: A review. Global Food Security, 15, 43-52.
  • Bagnol B, Clarke E, Li M, Maulaga W, Lumbwe H, McConchie R, de Bruyn J & Alders RG. (2016). Transdisciplinary project communication and knowledge sharing experiences in Tanzania and Zambia through a One Health lens. Frontiers in Public Health, 4:10.
  • de Bruyn J, Ferguson E, Allmann-Farinelli M, Darnton-Hill I, Maulaga W, Msuya J & Alders R. (2016). Food Composition Tables in resource-poor settings: exploring current limitations and opportunities, with a focus on animal-source foods in sub-Saharan Africa. British Journal of Nutrition, 116(10), 1709-1719.
  • Bagnol B, Naysmith S, de Bruyn J, et al. (2016). Effective animal health programming requires consideration of and communication with those at the human-animal interface. CAB Reviews, 11(30), 1-7.
  • de Bruyn J, Wong J, Bagnol B, Pengelly B & Alders R. (2015). Family poultry and food and nutrition security. CAB Reviews, 10(13), 1-9.

Book chapter

  • de Bruyn J, Bagnol B, Chan H, Grace D, Mitchell MEV, Nunn MJ, Wingett K, Wong JT & Alders RG. (2020). The role of animal-source foods in sustainable, ethical and optimal human diets. In A Adenle, J Hall, D Pannell and EHM Moors (Eds.). Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development Goals: Insights from Agriculture, Health, Environment and Energy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Member of Scientific Committee of Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy Week (2021)
  • Awarded best poster award at Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy Week (2019)
  • Member of Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy (2016-current)
  • Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) Early Career Research Fellowship (2018-2019)
  • University of Greenwich Early Career Researcher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research (2018)
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