Rebecca Bortz Costello, Ph.D., Scientific Consultant

Rebecca Bortz Costello, Ph.D., who retired in September 2011, continues to work with the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) as a part-time scientific consultant. She held the position of Director of Grants and Extramural Activities for the ODS for 5 years, beginning in May 2006. Prior to this, she served as Deputy Director from January 1999 to April 2006 and Acting Director from January 1999 to October 1999. Dr. Costello participated in the development of the ODS Strategic Plan and helped with implementing the plan’s goals and objectives by organizing workshops and conferences on topics of national interest in dietary supplements, conducting scientific reviews to identify gaps in scientific knowledge, and initiating and coordinating research efforts among NIH Institutes and other federal agencies.

Dr. Costello is an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine of the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, MD. She is the author of articles in professional journals and textbooks and has been an invited speaker at numerous professional meetings.

Prior to her NIH appointment, Dr. Costello was with the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences, serving as Project Director for the Committee on Military Nutrition Research. Her work focused on evaluating the nutritional adequacy and use of nutritional supplements for sustaining and enhancing performance in military personnel.

From 1987 to 1996, Dr. Costello served as a Research Associate and Program Director for the Risk Factor Reduction Center, a referral center at the Washington Adventist Hospital for the detection, modification, and prevention of cardiovascular disease through dietary and/or drug interventions. Prior to this, she held a position as a Research Biologist at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Washington, DC.

Dr. Costello maintains active membership in the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and American Heart Association (AHA). She also has been awarded fellowship status with ASN and AHA.

Her areas of research interest include mineral nutrition and dietary interventions to reduce cardiovascular disease, and she is exploring the collection of information on dietary supplements via electronic health records and related health outcomes. She is an active member of the ODS Resilience Program.

Dr. Costello received her B.S. and M.S. in biology from the American University in Washington, DC, and her Ph.D. in clinical nutrition from the University of Maryland at College Park. Her clinical research focused on the assessment of magnesium status in patients with congestive heart failure.