Nutrition Scientist Becomes President of the American Society for Nutrition

Simin Nikbin Meydani, DVM, PhD, director of the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, became president of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). Founded in 1928, ASN is a 5,000-member, nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing together the world's top researchers, clinical nutritionists, and industry to advance the knowledge and application of nutrition.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead an organization that is positioned to increase awareness of nutrition science,” Meydani saYS. “The advancement of nutrition research is an important piece in addressing obesity rates and chronic disease prevention, two leading public health problems.”

“ASN staff are looking forward to working closely with Dr. Meydani on ASN’s continuing effort to become more global and diversified,” says ASN Executive Officer John Courtney, PhD.

As president, one of Meydani’s top priorities is for ASN to become more engaged with the public. “There seems to be increasing confusion about nutrition studies,” says Meydani, who is also a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. “ASN can play a key role in helping the public understand the complexity of the research results they’re reading and hearing about.”

Meydani arrived at Tufts in 1984, and became director of the Nutritional Immunology Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA. Her research illuminates the role of nutrients in the aging process, particularly as it relates to immune response and the prevention of infectious and inflammatory diseases. In 2009, she was named director of the USDA HNRCA at Tufts University, after serving as associate director for four years.

Meydani will support ASN’s efforts to enhance professional development for scientists at all stages of their careers. “As your career progresses, your responsibilities grow to include teaching, research, interdisciplinary teams, leading those teams, mentoring people, raising funds and being a spokesperson for your field, and you don’t always know how to do all of these,” Meydani says. “With training, our members could become more effective leaders and spokespeople for our field.”

Meydani has received numerous research grants from the USDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), some of which have supported exploration of emerging trends in international nutrition. “High-carbohydrate, high-sodium diets lacking in healthy fats and good sources of protein are not unique to the United States,” Meydani says. “As more countries adopt Westernized diets, we are seeing more people with symptoms of chronic diseases that could be prevented or managed with better nutrition. ASN has already formed relationships with nutrition societies from Brazil, Korea, Japan, China, and Africa, and I look forward to expanding efforts to other regions of the world such as the Middle East and forming partnerships to more effectively address nutrition-related problems globally.”

Source: Tufts University