Bonnie J. Kaplan, PhD is a Professor Emerita in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Originally from Ohio, she did all her training in the US (University of Chicago and 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 in 1979.
She has published widely on the biological basis of developmental disorders and mental health, especially the contribution of nutrition to brain development and brain function. She was the founding principal investigator of the Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition longitudinal study (ApronStudy.ca). Bonnie has over 180 peer-reviewed publications and textbook contributions, and many more invited lectures.
After retiring from full-time academic research in 2016, she turned her attention to raising the profile of nutrition in mental health in two ways: a) by focusing on Knowledge Translation, and b) by raising funds to help her junior colleagues who have not yet been able to convince funding agencies that this is an important topic.
Her efforts to include nutrition knowledge in the care of people with mental health challenges has earned her a variety of awards, including the Dr. Rogers Prize in September 2019; and selection in 2017 as one of 150 Canadian Difference Makers in Mental Health, in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. In 2021 she was chosen as one of the top “7 Over 70” in Calgary, partly for her book The Better Brain, written with Professor Julia Rucklidge and published by Harper Collins as well as Penguin Random House. The award also was acknowledgement of her establishment of two charitable funds supporting research by junior colleagues who study nutrition and mental health. Those funds have now raised and distributed over $1 million CAD.
Her primary goal is to influence the way mental health treatment is delivered.