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Gower and Smith recognized with American Society for Nutrition awards

March 6, 2015

Barbara Gower, PhD, professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences and associate scientist in the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), and Daniel L. Smith, Jr., PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences, are recipients of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) 2015 Scientist, Clinician, Educator/Mentor & Young Investigator Awards. Each year, the ASN grants “scientific awards, student grants, travel awards and honoraria to experts and emerging leaders in nutrition science and practice.” Drs. Gower and Smith will be recognized during the ASN Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting at Experimental Biology 2015, to be held March 29, 2015, in Boston.

In the Senior Educator & Mentor Awards category, Dr. Gower was honored with the Dannon Institute Mentorship Award, supported by the Dannon Institute, which is given “for outstanding mentorship in the development of successful nutritional research science investigators.” Her 20 years of clinical nutrition research at UAB have incorporated trainees at every step. And her approach to mentorship is simple: She gets to know her mentees, learns what interests them, and then helps them to foster those interests. Dr. Gower is with them throughout the mentoring process, teaching all aspects of research, from clinical investigation to paper and grant writing. She eagerly shares her passion for scientific rigor and enthusiasm for her work, and her students have helped her to uncover the adverse metabolic effects of diets high in processed carbohydrates—results that were recently translated to clinical care. Additionally, Dr. Gower is an Academic-at-Large member for the ASN’s Energy and Macronutrient Metabolism Research Interest Section (EMM-RIS).


In the Young Investigator Awards category, Dr. Smith was the winner of the Bio-Serv Award in Experimental Animal Nutrition, supported by Bio-Serv Inc., which is given “for meritorious research in nutrition using experimental animals as models by an investigator who received the doctoral degree in the 10 years preceding the month the award is presented.” His research focuses on nutrition and metabolism in relationship to aging and disease, using a number of model organisms including budding yeast, zebrafish, and rodents. He is currently exploring non-invasive methods to quantify and study brown adipose tissue in vivo using magnetic resonance imaging, high-throughput quantitative methods to study the effect of nutrition on cellular lifespan using the yeast model and dietary interventions/optimization in both zebrafish and mice to increase lifespan and to prevent disease.