ENRG: Eating disorders and Nutrition Research Group


The Eating disorders and Nutrition Research Group (ENRG) aims to advance nutrition and dietetic research in eating disorders, improving our understanding of the role of nutrition in prevention and treatment. Located within ‘Eating Disorders and Body Image’ at Western Sydney University, ENRG is a collaboration of researchers with a record of accomplishment in nutrition-related research across the eating disorder continuum of care - from prevention and early intervention, to medical stabilisation and nutritional rehabilitation, to the normalising of eating patterns and behaviours. By supporting nutrition-focused research and advocating for the contribution of dietitians in the eating disorders field, the Group endeavours to enhance the understanding of the role of nutrition in eating disorder development and management, support evidence-based care and improve outcomes for people with eating disorders through increased access to high quality nutrition interventions.

Members of ENRG are committed to supporting dietitians and researchers with an interest in nutrition-focused research to undertake higher degree research in eating disorders.

Contact: Staff and students wanting to enquire about ENRG or who wish to join, please contact Susan at  susan.hart@westernsydney.edu.au Gabbi at g.heruc@westernsydney.edu.au.


Susan Hart

Conjoint Associate Professor, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Supporting & evaluating best practice in dietetics and eating disorders; insulin misuse in type 1 diabetes; acute hospital management of eating disorders; refeeding syndrome; physiological complications of starvation.

Gabriella Heruc (opens in a new window)

Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine

Primary Interests: The role of the dietitian in eating disorder management across the age and diagnosis spectrum; blood glucose regulation in eating disorders; gastrointestinal function and appetite changes in eating disorders; the physiological effects of starvation and changes with refeeding.

ENRG Members


Kirrilly Pursey

Conjoint Lecturer, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Addictive eating, the intersection of obesity and eating disorders, prevention of disordered eating in children, the role of the dietitian in eating disorder prevention and treatment.

Janet Conti (opens in a new window)

Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences and Psychology

Primary interests: Tailoring eating disorder treatment experiences, testing of under-researched treatment interventions for eating disorders

Catharine Fleming (opens in a new window)

Lecturer in Public Health, School of Sciences and Health, THRI

Primary interests: Paediatric feeding behaviours associated with picky/fussy eating and possible long-term health outcomes from these behaviours that manifest in early adolescence and young adulthood

Kylie Matthews-Rensch

Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Refeeding syndrome; gastrointestinal function in eating disorders; acute hospital management of patients with eating disorders; patient, carer and staff experience through eating disorder treatment; physiological complications of starvation and changes during acute refeeding.

Caitlin McMaster

Adjunct Fellow, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Enhancing the evidence base for outpatient dietetic treatment for individuals with eating disorders, translation of evidence-based dietetic practice into real world clinical practice, improving collaboration between dietitians and members of multi-disciplinary eating disorder treatment teams

Melissa Hart

Conjoint Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine

Primary interests: Eating behaviour and nutrition in people with an eating disorder as well as the role of dietitians in the prevention and treatment of disordered eating.


Current Research Interests

Nutrition-based Eating Disorder Prevention:

  • Healthy approaches to nutrition in schools and across the community
  • The role of food and nutrition in eating disorder prevention and early intervention

Dietetic Practice:

  • Interprofessional collaborative practice
  • Scope of practice
  • Developing evidence based treatments
  • Barriers and facilitators to care
  • Determining best practice
  • Knowledge translation

Dietary Measurement and Assessment:

  • Evaluating practice
  • Developing tools specific to dietary patterns & eating disorders
  • Measuring normal / abnormal eating behaviour
  • Dietary assessment methods
  • Micro/macronutrient deficiencies
  • Treatment targets
  • Standardised Terminology  (i.e NCPT)

Nutritional Science:

  • Hypoglycaemia and glycaemic regulation
  • Gastrointestinal function
  • Appetite regulation
  • Microbiota
  • Refeeding syndrome
  • The impact of nutrition on the brain

Nutrition Management (different populations):

  • Malnutrition and nutritional rehabilitation
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Avoidant and restrictive food intake disorder
  • The spectrum of eating disorders in people in larger bodies, including food addiction and compulsive overeating
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Perinatal period
  • Young people & adults
  • All eating disorder diagnoses

Nutrition Management (different settings):

  • Outpatient care
  • Inpatient care
  • Acute medical settings
  • Schools
  • Evaluation of groups versus individual and virtual settings