Meet our (genius) research team.
Learn the science. From the scientists themselves.
Dr Alejandra "Alex" Ruani, LLD
- Nutrition biochemistry
- Food and eating addiction
- Nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics
- Genetics of nutritional diseases
I lead our research division at The Health Sciences Academy, where the team and I make sense of complex scientific literature and translate it into easy-to-understand practical concepts for students. I love everything to do with nutritional sciences, cravings and appetite neurochemistry, and nutritional epigenetics (how food compounds switch genes on and off).
Originally from Argentina, with Italian ancestry, I studied nutrition at Cornell University and genetics at Harvard University, and I’m a scientific researcher who is fanatical about the latest developments in nutrition biochemistry, eating psychology and personal genetics. What not many people know about me is that I’m also a trained lawyer (qualified barrister, SRA registered) and that I was an Executive Director at JP Morgan’s investment bank in London City, UK. Why do I share this? Because I’m living proof that it’s never too late to change careers and do something new. The work we do at The Health Sciences Academy is so meaningful and fulfilling, and I love waking up every morning knowing that I am making a difference.
The reason why I started living and breathing nutrition sciences is because there’s just so much junk science out there: from the news, “evidence-based” blogs, coaching schools and even "celebrity doctors". Did you know that most of that information is pulled out of context, oversimplified, misinterpreted or just made up – up to the point of endangering your health? They say my virtue (or my curse!) is that I can smell a fad in two seconds. As a result, there are zero – and I mean zero – websites that I follow other than high-impact scientific journals. I’m passionate about cutting through bad science, myths and misconceptions, whilst emphasising the key research and context in which scientific studies are written. I have the ability to absorb copious amounts of data, filter out all the fluff and make it relevant to each individual because I believe that everyone is different. Besides, what's the point of science if it doesn't get translated into something usable? I am also a REPs qualified personal trainer and during my spare time advise elite athletes, including those who have Olympic ambitions; this comes from my own childhood dreams of becoming a gymnast (inspired by perfect-10 Nadia Comăneci). I am in The Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, Food Matters Live, and other major publications like the Nutrition Society, Bella, and The Sun.
I love to talk science (I think it’s fun!) and if you want to learn the latest from the scientists themselves, stick around.
Dr Goulven Josse, PhD
Research Scientist and Lead Instructor
- Behavioural Neuroscience
- Biochemistry and cell biology
- Cravings and food addiction
- Published 20 scientific studies
As an undergraduate, I studied biochemistry and cell biology at the Université de Caen (Normandy, France). As a graduate student, I decided to specialise in neuroimaging, taking advantage of Caen’s state-of-the-art brain mapping facility (CYCERON), one of the first built in Europe. This academic move brought me closer to psychology. Keeping my dominant foot in the field of biology, I gradually specialised in behavioural neuroscience.
I defended my PhD thesis in 2003, just before moving to the University of Chicago for 2 years, and then to University College London (UK) for another 2 ½ years . In 2009, I went back to France (Paris) where I successively worked for the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Brain and Spine Institute at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. These are all top global institutions in biology and neuroscience. Together with my colleagues, we published research in the best scientific journals.
Today, I’m a proud instructor and researcher at The Health Sciences Academy. How did my career path lead me to nutrition? My broad experience in biology, from the molecular level all the way up to the psychological level allows me to tackle various questions. More importantly, the study of nutrition encompasses all these levels, from the food decisions you make to the way your body cells use nutrients to function. The digestive system itself is an extremely complex neural network and recent research suggests this topic is a source of major breakthroughs in health. How does taste emerge from brain activity and can you use that knowledge to help patients rediscover the pleasure of eating (or make your kids eat their veggies...)? Chili peppers give a burning sensation, but will they actually make your heartburns worse? Your kids LOVE junk food: why? And is this something we can’t change in them?...
Let me show you how neuroscience can shed a bright and fascinating light on nutrition!