Team Bios


Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD

BONNIE J. KAPLAN, PhD, is Professor Emerita in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Her training was in experimental psychology and neurophysiology. As a member of the Department of Paediatrics, as well as the Owerko Centre of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Dr. Kaplan’s 45-year career in clinical research focused on the role of nutrition in brain/mental health and brain development. Now semi-retired, she is committed to Knowledge Translation of her scientific research and that of others, to raise public awareness of the importance of nutrients for a healthy brain.

Originally from Ohio, Dr. Kaplan did all her training in the United States (honors baccalaureate degree in psychology at the University of Chicago, and master’s and PhD degrees in experimental and physiological psychology at Brandeis University). Her interest in the biological basis of behavior led to postdoctoral training and then faculty research in neurophysiology at Yale University Department of Neurology and the West Haven (CT) Veterans Administration Neuropsychology Laboratory, until she moved to Canada and the University of Calgary in 1979 when invited to establish the Behavioural Research Unit at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Kaplan has published widely on the biological basis of developmental disorders and mental health, especially the contribution of nutrition to brain development and brain function. In the 1980s and 90s she was director of the Alberta Mental Health Research Unit. In 2008 she became the team lead and founding principal investigator of the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition Study (, a longitudinal pregnancy and birth cohort that is now in its tenth year, evaluating the role of nutrition in maternal mental health and brain development and function in their offspring.

In 2018, for Canada’s 150th birthday, she was named one of the country’s top 150 Difference Makers in Mental Health. In 2019, she was awarded the prestigious Dr. Rogers Prize, a national award given every two years in Canada for research or clinical work in complementary, alternative, integrative health ( Her first book The Better Brain will be published in early 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in North America, and Penguin Random House in Europe. The book is co-authored with her former student Dr. Julia Rucklidge, with whom she has also regularly co-authored a blog on nutrition and mental health for The Better Brain will explain to the general public how and why nutrition provides the foundation for good mental health. To learn more, visit her website: