Crystal Karakochuk

Crystal Karakochuk

Assistant Professor, Food, Nutrition and Health

Investigator, Healthy Starts, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute


Food, Nutrition and Health 216, 2205 East Mall

Karakochuk Research Group

University of British Columbia, PhD, Human Nutrition

University of Toronto, MSc, Nutritional Sciences

Vancouver Hospital & Health Sciences Centre, Dietetic Internship

University of British Columbia, BSc, Dietetics

Dr. Crystal Karakochuk is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems at UBC. Her research program focuses on the links of nutritional status and anemia, including the role of nutritional supplementation and of hemoglobinopathies in children, women, and families in Canada and globally.

Her research lab performs comprehensive measurement and interpretation of indicators of anemia (hematological and nutritional biomarkers) and genetic polymorphisms associated with hemoglobin in individuals, families, and populations. She also studies the benefits and potential harms of nutrition supplementation policies and programs designed to treat anemia, including untargeted iron and folic acid supplementation in women and children globally.

The innovative aspect of her research program is that it combines two distinct fields of research – nutrition and hematology. This unique program brings together clinicians, researchers, and policy makers to advance and apply knowledge in nutritional hematology. Dr. Karakochuk’s research program addresses two key objectives:

  • To improve diagnostic methods and investigate new biomarkers for anemia and iron deficiency for individual- and population-level assessment
  • To evaluate the risk-benefit of Canadian and global micronutrient supplementation policies to advance clinical practice and to inform safe, effective nutrition therapy worldwide

See Google Scholar for a full list of publications.

Karakochuk CD, Barker MK, Whitfield KC, Barr SI, Vercauteren SM, Devlin AM, Hutcheon JA, Houghton LA, Prak S, Hou K, Chai TL, Stormer A, Ly S, Devenish R, Oberkanins C, Puringher H, Harding KB, De-Regil LM, Kraemer K, Green TJ*. The effect of oral iron with or without multiple micronutrients on hemoglobin concentration and hemoglobin response among non-pregnant Cambodian women of reproductive age: A 2×2 factorial double-blind randomized supplementation trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2017; (in press).

Karakochuk CD, Whitfield KC, Rappaport AI, Barr SI, Vercauteren SM, McLean J, Prak S, Hou K, Talukder A, Devenish R, Green TJ*. The homozygous hemoglobin EE genotype and chronic inflammation are associated with high serum ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor concentrations among women in Cambodia. Journal of Nutrition 2015; 145(12): 2765-73.

Karakochuk CD*, Janmohamed A, Whitfield KC, Barr SI, Vercauteren SM, Kroeun H, Talukder A, McLean J, Green TJ. Evaluation of two methods to measure hemoglobin concentration among women with genetic hemoglobin disorders in Cambodia: a method-comparison study. Clinica Chimica Acta 2015; 441: 148-55.

Karakochuk CD, Whitfield KC, Barr SI, Lamers Y, Devlin AM, Vercauteren SM, Kroeun H, Talukder A, McLean J, Green TJ*. Genetic hemoglobin disorders rather than iron deficiency are a major predictor of hemoglobin concentration in women of reproductive age in rural Prey Veng, Cambodia. Journal of Nutrition 2015; 145(1): 134-42.

Karakochuk CD, van den Briel T, Stephens D, Zlotkin S*. Treatment of moderate acute malnutrition with ready-to-use supplementary food results in higher overall recovery rates compared with a corn-soya blend in children in Ethiopia: an operations research trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2012; 96: 911-6.

FNH 455: Applied International Nutrition: The aim of this course is to provide a critical examination of nutrition interventions in the global health context. Students are required to actively participate in discussions and to work in teams to apply learned knowledge and complete an international nutrition intervention proposal.

FNH 470/475: Foundations of Nutrition Care I & II (co-instructed with Heather Woodward): This course focuses on the etiology and pathophysiology of and nutrition therapy for selected diseases and conditions, and skill development related to the Nutrition Care Process. The course is restricted to students in year 4 of the Dietetics Major.

HUNU 531/631: Food Nutrition and Health Graduate Seminar Series

I have worked as a Clinical Dietitian at the BC Children’s Hospital, as a Dietitian Manager for Pregnancy Outreach Programs in BC, and as a Regional Nutritionist for the Canada Prenatal Nutrition Programs in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. I have also worked internationally as a Nutritionist for the UN World Food Programme (Rwanda, Malawi, Ethiopia, Italy HQ) and UNICEF (New York HQ, Timor-Leste) in humanitarian aid, operations research, and nutrition programming.