Dr. Steele has a long-standing interest in the use of texture modified foods and thickened liquids to address swallowing impairment. Her work in this area focuses on characterizing the viscosity of liquids used in dysphagia assessment and management, including barium stimuli, and liquids thickened with both starch-based and xanthan-gum-based thickening agents.
Dr. Steele collaborates with Dr. David James (Rheology Lab, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Toronto) in making measurements of liquid flow characteristics.
Additionally, Dr. Steele is a member of the Foundation Committee of the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative. This international task force is committed to developing definitions for terminology used to describe texture modified foods and liquids, and guidelines to facilitate the preparation of quality products for patients with dysphagia. Dr. Steele led a large systematic review project for IDDSI, to synthesize evidence from the literature regarding the effects of viscosity and other textural characteristics on human swallowing.