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Results of The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science Research Award
Call for Proposals 2015


Shauna Downs, PhD
Columbia University

Research Project: "Identifying Interventions to Promote the Production and Consumption of Healthy and Sustainable Oils in Myanmar"

Shauna received herPhD in Public Health from the Menzies Centre for Health Policy at the University of Sydney where her work focused on the use of policy to improve the quality of the food supply in India. She is currently an Earth Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University, working with Drs. Jess Fanzo, Glenn Denning, and Richard Deckelbaum. Her postdoctoral work focuses on the agriculture, nutrition and environment nexus and evidence-informed best practices regarding how to produce and consume healthy food in sustainable ways. Shauna holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Calgary and a Master's of Science in Nutrition and Metabolism from the University of Alberta.

Xinyin Jiang, PhD, RD
Brooklyn College, City University of New York

Research Project: "Prenatal Betaine Supplementation as a Treatment for Macrosomia in a Mouse Model of Gestational Diabetes Mellitus"

Xinyin Jiang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. She received her Bachelor's degree in Biology from Fudan University in 2008 andPhD in Nutrition from Cornell University in 2013. Her doctoral research focused on choline metabolism during pregnancy. She has published several original articles on choline, epigenetic modification, and angiogenesis. In her current research, she uses cell and rodent models to investigate the influence of maternal betaine and choline consumption on modifying placental macronutrient metabolism and fetal epigenetic programming inhigh risk pregnancies. The long-term goal of her research is to delineate the nutritional requirements and benefits of betaine and choline in humans.

Rena Zelig, RDN
Rutgers School of Health Related Professions

Research Project: "Exploring the Associations between Dentition Status, Nutritional Status, and the Eating Experience in Older Adults — A Mixed Methods Study"

Dr. Rena Zelig is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition program within the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers School of Health Related Professions. Dr. Zelig is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), also credentialed as a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) and Certified Specialist in Gerontological Nutrition (CSG). Her research has focused on the associations between nutrition and oral health in the elderly, as well as approaches to clinical nutrition practice in long-term care. She has published papers in Topics in Clinical Nutrition and Nutrition in Clinical Practice and presented at national and international professional meetings.


Jason P. Block, MD, MPH
Harvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute

Jason Block is a general internal medicine physician and Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Obesity Prevention Program of the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. He completed a primary care internal medicine residency and chief residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Block's primary research interests are in neighborhood-level determinants of weight gain and obesity and the evaluation of governmental and institutional policies and other novel interventions to improve diet and combat obesity. He is a primary care physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a preceptor for Brigham internal medicine residents in their continuity clinics, and a clinician in the Brigham and Women's Weight Management Clinic.

Julianne Curran, PhD
Pulse Canada

Julianne Curran has a PhD in Human Nutritional Sciences from the University of Manitoba and has worked at Pulse Canada since 2005 as part of a team to position pulse crops (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas) as a healthy and environmentally sustainable ingredient solution for the food industry. In her current role of Vice President, Food & Health, Julianne identifies strategic priorities for research related to health, nutrition, processing and utilization of pulses through outreach with a broad range of stakeholders including scientists, government, health professionals, food and pulse processing industries. Julianne also works to facilitate projects and funding partnerships to address these research priorities. Using existing research, Julianne works on developing credible, science-based nutrition and health marketing messages and health claims and provides support for food regulatory initiatives.

Anna Herforth, PhD
Independent Consultant

Anna Herforth is a researcher and consultant specializing in the links between agriculture, food systems and nutrition. She holds a PhD in international nutrition from Cornell University, MS in food policy from Tufts University, and a BS in plant science from Cornell University. She has worked with the World Bank, UN and CGIAR agencies, nonprofit organizations, and academia on food and nutrition in Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. In each region, she has spent considerable time with agricultural and indigenous communities. Dr. Herforth is co-founder of the Agriculture-Nutrition Community of Practice (Ag2Nut), a professional community with members from over 90 countries.

Maureen Huhmann, DCN, RD, CSO
Nestle Health Science

Maureen Huhmann, DCN, RD, CSO holds the position of Associate Director of Clinical Sciences for Nestle Health Science. Dr. Huhmann came to Nestle in July 2010 from the Cancer Institute of New Jersey at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers University) where she still holds a position as adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences. Prior to joining Nestle, Dr. Huhmann's practice and research focused on the nutritional care of oncology patients. Maureen received her undergraduate degree in Foods and Nutrition from the College of Saint Elizabeth. She completed her Masters and Doctoral work at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Additionally, she holds a board certification in oncology nutrition.

Heather Keller, RD, PhD
University of Waterloo / Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

Heather Keller, RD, PhD is the Schlegel Research Chair in Nutrition & Aging at the University of Waterloo and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. As Chair of the Canadian Malnutrition Task Force (CMTF), Heather leads an interprofessional team focused on improving the prevention, identification and treatment of malnutrition in the acute care setting. Current projects involve knowledge translation focused on improving care processes resulting from findings of the Nutrition Care in Canadian Hospitals study. A nutrition care pathway and support resources are available to support improved care practices. Heather also leads the Making the Most of Mealtimes (M3) research program focused on improving food intake in residents living in long term care. As a scientist with the Agri-food for Healthy Aging research group, she has conducted research with Drs. Duizer, Duncan and Stark focused on improving pureed food and fortifying food products for residents in LTC. Nutrition risk screening tools (Canadian Nutrition Screening Tool and SCREENIII) have been validated, supporting efficient screening in hospital and community settings. Nutri-eSCREEN, a self-management site for older adults based on SCREENII is in the process of being evaluated. Future planned endeavors include translation of the Life Nourishment Theory resulting from the Eating Together study into education programs for family and formal care partners for persons with dementia.

Kristina H. Lewis, MD, MPH, SM
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Kristina H. Lewis, MD, MPH, SM, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. She is an internal medicine physician practicing in the field of bariatrics. Dr. Lewis' research focuses on developing and evaluating interventions for obesity and related comorbidities. This work ranges from comparative effectiveness studies of bariatric surgical procedures, to trials of novel behavioral interventions for diet, to studies of policy interventions for improving diet at the population-level. Dr. Lewis is currently serving as Chair-elect for the Health Services Research Section of The Obesity Society, and Chair of the Obesity, Diabetes and Nutrition-Related Diseases Working Group for the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science.

Michael McBurney, PhD, FACN
DSM Nutritional Products LLC

Dr. Michael McBurney is VP Science, Communications & Advocacy at DSM Nutritional Products LLC where he provides global leadership in developing, implementing, and executing nutrition science and communications strategies. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University, has held academic appointments at the University of Toronto, University of Alberta, Michigan State University and was founding Department Head of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Texas A&M University. He is an active volunteer with leadership experience in the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), Institute for Food Technologists (IFT), International Food Information Council (IFIC), International Life Science Institute (ILSI), Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), and New York Academy of Science (NYAS). He served as a founding Advisory Board member of the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes within the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and current chair of Cornell University Division of Nutrition Sciences External Advisory Board. He is an industry representative (non-voting member) of the FDA Food Advisory Committee.

Dr. Michael McBurney received his BS in Biology (Ecology) from Carleton University and MS and PhD degrees in Nutrition from Cornell University.

Karen Teff, PhD
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Dr. Karen Teff is the program director for bariatric surgery, gestational diabetes and hypoglycemia within the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Previously, she was a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center and held an adjunct position at the University of Pennsylvania where she was Director of the Clinical and Translational Research Center and Director of the translational research program within the Diabetes Research Center. Her primary area of expertise is on the neural control of glucose homeostasis in the pathophysiology of human obesity and diabetes.