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Robert Bandsma

Title: Staff Physician, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
Designations: MD, PhD
Alternate Contact Name: Shawana Estwick
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 x422886
Alternate Email:

Research Positions

Translational Medicine


Dr. Robert Bandsma received his B.Sc. from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. He then went on to complete a PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Groningen. Dr. Bandsma completed his MD and subspecialty training at the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands and a Subspecialty Fellowship in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the Hospital for Sick Children. He then completed additional training in Tropical Pediatrics from Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Tropical School of Medicine, Liverpool, United Kingdom. He was a honorary lecturer at the University of Malawi, College of Medicine and was a staff physician at the Queen Elisabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre Malawi. During his period in Malawi he performed multiple research projects funded through a post-doctoral research grant. He completed post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Gary Lewis, Division of Advanced Diagnostics – Metabolism, Toronto General Research Institute.  During his Post-doctoral Fellowship, he received a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award.


Dr. Bandsma’s clinical and basic research has focused on understanding the regulation of nutrient metabolism. Specifically, his interest has been around the regulation of carbohydrate, lipid and bile acid metabolism in health and disease. The ultimate aim of his research is to develop novel yet simple evidence-based interventions that can be taken to clinical trials to reduce mortality in malnourished children.

Education and experience

  • 1991–1999: Medical School, Faculty of Medicine, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
  • 1995: Undergraduate Research Elective, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of California at Berkeley, CA, USA
  • 1999: Elective Internship The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Division of Endocrinology and Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA
  • 1999–2004: Graduate School, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
  • 1999–2007: Pediatric Residency, Beatrix Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands (Pediatric residency combined with graduate school)
  • 2003–2005: Pediatric Residency, St. Elisabeth Hospital, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles, Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • 2005–2006: Pediatric Tropical Medicine Course, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Tropical School of Medicine, Liverpool, UK 
  • 2008-2010: Clinical and Research Fellowship, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada 
  • 2009-2010: Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Endocrinology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 2011: Clinical Fellowship, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Beatrix Children’s Hospital, University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands


  • 1999–2005: Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development MD/PhD Training AwardRole: Postdoctoral Fellow Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, Utrecht, the Netherlands (Research Award, Health) 
    Prestigious national award to support talented medical students to pursue a PhD. 
    Total Amount: €65,000 
  • 2007: Nutricia Research Foundation International Postdoctoral Fellowship AwardRole: Postdoctoral Fellow  Nutricia, Zoetermeer, the Netherlands (Research Award, Nutrition) 
    National award for support of postdoctoral fellows in the field of nutrition. 
    Total Amount: €25,000 
  • 2010–2012, Canadian Institute for Health Research Post Doctoral Fellowship Award. Role: Postdoctoral Fellow Canadian Institute for Health Research, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Research Award, Health Research) 
    Prestigious national award for clinical and non-clinical postdoctoral applicants. Ranking 3 out of 31 awarded fellowships of a total of 329 applicants. Duration of funding 2 years, 4 months.  
    Total Amount: $100,000 CAD 
  • 2010–2012: Canadian Diabetes Association Fellowship AwardRole: Postdoctoral FellowCanadian Diabetes Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Research Award,  Diabetes) National award for support of postdoctoral fellows in the field of diabetes. 
    Total Amount: $80,000 CAD (Declined)
  • 2010–2012: Banting and Best Diabetes Center Fellowship AwardRole: Postdoctoral Fellow Banting and Best Diabetes Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada 
    Local competitive award for support of postdoctoral fellows in the field of diabetes. 
    Total Amount: $50.000 CAD (Declined) 
  • 2013–2015, North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition Foundation /Nestlé Nutrition Research Young Investigator Development Award. Role: Principal ApplicantNorth American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Lower Gwynedd Township, PA, USA (Research Award, Pediatric Gastroenterology)  
    Award for promising junior scientists in the field of pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology or nutrition. 
    Total Amount: $150,000 USD 


  • 2015–2020: Co-Investigator (member Nutrition working group), The Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research application (SPOR), Canadian Team Grant with Principal Investigator:  Paul MoayyediMicrobiome, and Alimentation: Gastro-Intestinal and Neuropsychiatric Effects. $12,450,000 CAD. 
  • 2017–2021: Collaborator. Canadian Institute for Health Research, Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative (HeLTI).  Principal Investigator: Stephen Matthews. Collaborators Stephanie Atkinson, Zulfiqar Bhutta, Cindy-Lee Dennis, Elena Comelli, et al. $2,493,350 CAD. 
  • 2018–2023: Principal Investigator. Canadian Institute for Health Research, Project Grant. Collaborators: Peter Kim, Barbara Bakker, Hans Jonker. $687,000 CAD.
  • 2019–2020: Co-Investigator. Centre for Global Child Health Catalyst Grant, The Hospital for Sick Children. Principal Investigator: Jo-Anne Baxter, PhD Student. Collaborators: Zulfiqar Bhutta, Allison Daniel. $25,000 CAD.
  • 2019–2021: Co-Investigator; Principal Investigator (Multi-site Intervention Trial); Co-Principal Investigator (Malawi Site). Principal Investigators: Jay Berkley and Judd Walson. Collaborators: Tahmeed Ahmed, Asad AlliWieger Voskuijl, Emmie Mbale, Kirk Tickell, et al. $8,034,553 USD. 
  • 2019–2024: Co-Investigator. Canadian Institute for Health Research, Canadian Microbiome Initiative 2 Team Grant. Principal Investigator John Parkinson. Collaborators: Jessie Hulst, Zulfiqar Bhutta. $2,000,000 CAD.  


  1. Bhutta ZA, Berkley JA, Bandsma RHJTrehan I, Kerac M, Briend A. Severe Childhood Malnutrition. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2017; 21;3:17067All authors contributed equally. Impact Factor 32.3 
  2. Bandsma RHJ, Voskuijl W, Chimwezi E, Fegan G, Briend A, Thitiri J, Ngari M, Mwalekwa L, Bandika V, Ali R, Hamid F, Owor B, Mturi N, Potani I, Allubha B, Muller Kobold AC, Bartels RH, Versloot CJ, Feenstra M, van den Brink DA, van Rheenen PF, Kerac M, Bourdon C, Berkley JA. A reduced-carbohydrate and lactose-free formulation for stabilization among hospitalized children with severe acute malnutrition: A double-blind, randomized controlled trial. PLOS Med. 2019 Feb 26; 16(2):e1002747. SRA Impact factor 11.8 
  3. Sargent G, *van Zutphen T, Shatseva T, Zhang L, *Di Giovanni V, Bandsma R, Kim PK. PEX2 is the E3 ubiquitin ligase required for pexophagy during starvation. J Cell Biol. 2016 Sep 12; 214(6): pp. 677-690. Co-SRA  Impact Factor 8.8 
  4. *van Zutphen T, *Ciapaite J, Bloks VW, Ackerley C, Gerding A, Jurdzinski A, *Allgayer de Moraes R, Zhang L, Wolters JC, Bischoff R, Wanders RJ, Houten SM, Bronte-Tinkew D, Shatseva T, Lewis GF, Groen AK, Reijngoud DJ, Bakker BM, Jonker JW, Kim PK, Bandsma RHMalnutrition-associated liver steatosis and ATP depletion is caused by peroxisomal and mitochondrial dysfunction and rescued by fibrates. J Hepatol2016 Dec; 65(6): pp. 1198-1208. SRA Impact Factor 18.9 
  5. *Attia S, *Versloot CJ, Voskuijl W, *van Vliet SJ, *Di Giovanni V, Zhang L, Richardson S, Bourdon C, Netea MG, Berkley JA, van Rheenen PF, Bandsma RHMortality in children with complicated severe acute malnutrition is related to intestinal and systemic inflammation: an observational cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Nov; 104(5): pp. 1441-1449. SRA Impact factor 6.8

See a full list of Robert Bandsma's publications

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