University of Hawaii

MMS Faculty

Joannie Dobbs, PhD, CNS

Dr. Joannie Dobbs functions in two capacities at UH Mānoa. She serves as an Assistant Extension Specialist in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and as the Nutritionist at the University Health Services Mānoa.  She earned her BS in dietetics at Michigan State University and her PhD in Nutrition at the University of California Davis, focusing on comparative nutrition, physiology, and physiological chemistry. She is a Certified Nutrition Specialist.

Dr. Dobbs’ research interests primarily focus on the chemical composition of foods, the physiological challenges of obtaining essential nutrients from foods, and the physical and psychological consequences of not meeting essential nutrient needs.  She also is interested in the consequences of excessive consumption of various food components, including essential nutrients, other natural food components, and environmental contaminants.  Much of her current work focuses on nutrition for brain health and especially on the role of iron status in health.

Translating nutrition science for consumers is an important aspect of Dr. Dobbs’ extension activities. With her husband, Dr. Alan Titchenal, she has co-authored over 500 “Health Options” and “Young at Heart” newspaper articles on nutrition and health for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Star-Advertiser newspapers. These articles are archived on the NutritionATC website (  Additionally, they write daily health and nutrition tips for their “Got Nutrients?” project that sends “daily tips” to thousands of email subscribers. An archive of past “daily tips” is available at .

Dr. Dobbs is a self-proclaimed nerd and is passionate about understanding the complex intricacies of food systems needed to meet human needs, with special interest in making Hawai‘i  more self-reliant in food production that meets the essential nutrient needs of residents.

In “another life,” Dr. Dobbs spent five years in South Africa studying nutrient needs and ecological hazards affecting the survival of the Cape Vulture, worked as a field biologist in California, Nevada, and Arizona, and worked on endangered species protection for The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i.  In 2005, Dr. Dobbs received the Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture.

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