Associate Professor Gabriella Heruc

Gabriella HerucPosition

Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Medicine


Adjunct Associate Professor Gabriella Heruc is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with Honours in Psychology, Master of Nutrition & Dietetics, and over 20 years’ clinical experience in mental health including 15 years focused on eating disorder treatment in public and private inpatient, day program and outpatient settings. She completed her PhD in Medicine at the University of Adelaide in 2019, which focused on gastrointestinal, glycaemic and appetite regulation in anorexia nervosa. Her novel research on appetite regulation during starvation in anorexia nervosa and following refeeding was awarded the prestigious Global Foundation for Eating Disorders Top Abstract Award at the 2018 Eating Disorders Research Society Meeting and was published in Nutrients. It also led to ground-breaking research published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism, showing that blood glucose decreases after food intake in starved patients with anorexia nervosa. This is revolutionising inpatient care with more regular blood glucose monitoring and continuous nasogastric feeding until patients are medically stable.

Alongside Conjoint Associate Professor Susan Hart, Adjunct Associate Professor Heruc is also co-director of Eating Disorders and Nutrition Research Group (ENRG) (opens in a new window) – a world first collaboration aiming to advance nutrition and dietetic research in eating disorders by drawing established researchers to the university and new research students to the field. Adjunct Associate Professor Heruc’s own research includes partnering with THRI researchers Dr Deborah Mitchison and Professor Phillipa Hay on the TrEAT collaboration, bringing together private practitioners specialising in eating disorder treatment to collect data on real-world client experiences and outcomes. She is also currently co-supervising PhD student, Megan Bray, in the development of a novel multidisciplinary treatment for anorexia nervosa, as well as exploring interdisciplinary collaborative practice in eating disorder treatment. She is also supervising WSU medical student Cameron Bell to explore hypoglycaemia in anorexia nervosa at Northern Sydney Local Health district. She was additionally on the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) working group for the development of Clinical Practice Recommendations for people with an eating disorder living in larger bodies (Journal of Eating Disorders, 2022).

She also has extensive government advocacy and sector collaboration experience at national and international levels through serving on the Executive Committee of the peak professional body, ANZAED over 10 years in the member-elected roles of Executive member, Treasurer, President-Elect, President and Past-President. In this time, she chaired the 2012 Annual Conference, established the now annual Autumn Workshop Series, was the first dietitian invited to join the NEDC Steering Committee and most significantly served on the Medicare Implementation Committee for the establishment of unprecedented disorder-specific Medicare Items for eating disorder treatment and was instrumental in educating the sector on their use. She also led the development and publication of the ANZAED treatment principles and clinical practice standards for dietitians and mental health professionals providing eating disorder treatment (Journal of Eating Disorders, 2020), which aim to increase capabilities among health professionals to improve outcomes for people with an eating disorder. These have provided the framework for a federally funded national credentialing system which she has implemented and manages in her role as Credentialing Director for ANZAED, aiming to lift the minimum standard of eating disorder care.

Research Interests

  • The role of the dietitian in eating and feeding disorder management
  • The role of nutrition education on eating disorder development in young people
  • Blood glucose regulation in eating disorders
  • Gastrointestinal function and appetite changes in eating disorders
  • Physiological effects of starvation and changes with refeeding

Qualifications & Recognition

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Medicine, 2019, University of Adelaide
  • Master of Nutrition & Dietetics, 2005, Sydney University
  • Bachelor of Science (HonsPsyc), 2000, Macquarie University
  • Bachelor of Behavioural Science, 1999, Flinders University

Research & Publications

Contact Details
LocationOff Campus