ODS Update - Spring 2016

ODS Update: A Newsletter for Professionals from the Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health
Spring 2016

Upcoming Event: ODS Iron Workshop

baby eating

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) workshop, Screening and Supplementation of Iron-replete Pregnant Women and Young Children, will be held September 28–29, 2016, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. It is the inaugural activity of the new ODS Iron Initiative led by ODS Scientific Consultant Christine Taylor, Ph.D., and Visiting Scientist Patsy Brannon, Ph.D. (Learn more about Dr. Brannon, below, in ODS Staff News.) The goals of the workshop are to explore current understanding of iron metabolism in pregnant women and in young children (age 6–24 months); to identify the challenges associated with measuring iron status and screening practices; and to consider emerging issues associated with prophylactic supplementation of pregnant women who have adequate iron levels. This public meeting can be attended in person or via NIH Videocast. The agenda and registration information will be made available during the summer on the Iron Initiative webpage and distributed via the ODS listserv.

John A. Milner Fellowship Program: Application Process Now Open

Applications are now being accepted through October 1, 2016, for the 2016 John A. Milner Fellowship Programexternal link disclaimer sponsored by ODS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC). The program creates opportunities for early-career nutrition scientists (within 5 years of completing a Ph.D., D.Sc., M.D., or other doctoral degree) to strengthen their skills through 2 years of postdoctoral research, supplemented by training programs, peer networking, and field learning experiences. Milner Fellows conduct research in the area of bioactive components in foods and dietary supplements and learn about the translation of nutrition science into policy. This program is inspired by the life and work of Dr. John A. Milner, who, until his untimely death, was the Director of BHNRC.

ODS Staff News

On April 26, 2016, Stephen A. Wise, Ph.D. (appearing left in the adjoining photo), was awarded the Hillebrand Prize by the Chemical Society of Washington, in recognition of his “outstanding contributions to improved quality of life through research in chemical measurement science, development of Standard Reference Materials, and environmental specimen banking technology.” Dr. Wise joined ODS in January as a Scientific Consultant supporting the ODS Dietary Supplement Analytical Methods and Reference Materials Program. Before coming to ODS, Dr. Wise retired after a 40-year career at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). His recent focus at NIST was the development of methods and Standard Reference Materials for determination of nutrients in food and dietary supplements and nutritional markers in serum. For many years, Dr. Wise was responsible for annual interagency agreements between NIST and ODS for the development of measurement methods and reference materials for dietary supplements and for nutritional assessment markers in human serum and food.


Stephen A. Wise, Ph.D.
Haiqiu (Jason) Huang, Ph.D.

Haiqiu (Jason) Huang, Ph.D., our first Milner Fellow, has received an award from the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science Poster Competition, held during ASN’s annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2016. His poster, titled Dietary Small RNA Modulation of Gut Microbiota Composition: In-Silico and In-Vitro Analyses, received the Postdoctoral Fellow First Place award in the Dietary Bioactive Components Research Interest Section. All award winners are recognized on the ASN webpageexternal link disclaimer.


In January, Mengliang Zhang, Ph.D., became the second recipient of the John A. Milner Fellowship. Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on the development of analytical methods, new strategies, computer tools, and databases for the analysis of flavonoids and other bioactive components in foods, plants, and dietary supplements. Dr. Zhang obtained his doctoral degree in analytical chemistry from Ohio University.


Mengliang Zhang, Ph.D.
Kathryn Camp, M.S., R.D.

Kathryn Camp, M.S., R.D., ODS Scientific Policy Analyst (contractor), gave an invited presentation on May 9, 2016, on patient access to medical foods to the Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Childrenexternal link disclaimer. The Committee advises the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on issues pertaining to newborn screening. Medical foods are the only recognized therapy for many inborn errors of metabolism (IEM) identified through newborn screening. They, with a carefully planned diet, reduce morbidity and mortality but are not consistently available to all patients. Ms. Camp reviewed the history of medical foods in the United States, why and how they are used, barriers to patient access and reimbursement, and actions to rectify the problem. The Committee charged a workgroup to suggest ways to address the lack of consistent and comprehensive coverage of medical foods for patients with IEM by the Committee’s August 25–26, 2016, meeting.


Nutritional Epidemiologist, Nancy Potischman, Ph.D., recently joined ODS as the Director of the Population Studies Program. Dr. Potischman will work with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to evaluate issues related to dietary supplement use, including the assessment of biological measures of supplement exposure and associated health effects. In addition, she will foster research on measurement issues as well as the benefits and risks of the use of dietary supplements and fortified foods. She is also part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) team developing and updating an automated self-administered 24-hour recall instrumentexternal link disclaimer (known as ASA24) and a working group on measurement errors related to dietary intakes and biomarkers. Dr. Potischman came to ODS from the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences.


Nancy Potischman, Ph.D.
Patsy M. Brannon, Ph.D., R.D.

Patsy M. Brannon, Ph.D., R.D., recently joined ODS as a Visiting Scientist while on sabbatical leave from Cornell University where she is Professor of Nutritional Sciences. Her work at ODS focuses on screening for iron status and iron supplementation in pregnant women and young children, as part of the ODS Iron Initiative. This is Dr. Brannon’s second assignment with ODS. From 2008 to 2009, she was a Visiting Professor working on the Vitamin D Initiative. Dr. Brannon’s research and teaching focus on maternal and child nutrition. Her current research at Cornell examines how maternal nutritional status regulates genes controlling growth and function of the placenta and vitamin D metabolism in the placenta. Dr. Brannon is the Director of the Cornell Dietetic Internship Program and Coordinator of the combined Ph.D. and R.D. program which emphasizes translational research and evidence-based policy and practice.


Linda D. Meyers, Ph.D., joined ODS as a Scientific Consultant in March 2016. Her work focuses on organizing activities to advance the development and application of evidence-based nutritional requirements known as Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs). Prior to joining ODS, Dr. Meyers was Senior Science Advisor for the American Society for Nutrition. She also has served as Director of the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) at the Institute of Medicine (now the Health and Medicine Division) of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Earlier in her career, she directed FNB’s international nutrition program and was Senior Nutrition Advisor and Deputy Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. While there, Dr. Meyers oversaw preparation of technical and policy reports, including several Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Healthy People 2010.

Linda D. Meyers, Ph.D.


Recent ODS Staff Publications

ODS staff members have published papers that address key issues in dietary supplement and related research. Four recent publications are highlighted below. For a complete list, see the ODS website: Staff Publications.


Recent ODS Staff Presentations

Dr. Rios-Avila presents her poster at Experimental Biology 2016

Dr. Rios-Avila presents her poster at Experimental Biology 2016

ODS Goes to Experimental Biology 2016

Experimental Biology is an annual meeting of over 14,000 scientists and exhibitors representing six sponsoring societies—including the American Society for Nutrition. Each year, ODS’ Leila Saldanha, Ph.D., R.D., develops a multi-page Calendar of Events featuring ODS staff and ODS-supported researchers, projects, and activities, which is sent to the ODS listserv. Here is a sampling of ODS presentations from this year’s meeting, held April 2–6 in San Diego:

  • Paul M. Coates, Ph.D., spoke on NIH Research Activities Addressing Research Opportunities Relevant to the National Nutrition Research Roadmap.
  • Cindy D. Davis, Ph.D., chaired the Graduate Student Research Award Competition.
  • Johanna Dwyer, Ph.D., gave a presentation titled Are Chromium Supplements Efficacious for Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes?—co-authored by Rebecca Costello, Ph.D., Regan L. Bailey, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., and Edwina Wambogo, M.S., M.P.H., R.D., L.D.N.
  • Luisa Rios-Avila, Ph.D. (pictured above), presented the poster, Nutritional Interventions in Primary Mitochondrial Disorders: Challenges and Barriers to the Use of Dietary Supplements, co-authored by Kathryn Camp, M.S., R.D., Adam Kuszak, Ph.D., Paul M. Coates, Ph.D., and Danuta Krotoski, Ph.D., of the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
  • Christopher T. Sempos, Ph.D., gave a presentation titled NIH—Vitamin D Standardization Program: Progress and New Opportunities.

For a complete list, see the ODS website: Staff Presentations.


ODS Media Appearances

Paul M. Coates, Ph.D., was interviewed by Karen Jagoda for the Empowered Patient Radio podcast, Impact of Dietary Supplementsexternal link disclaimer (posted April 24). Dr. Coates also was quoted in the Prevention.com article (March 3) by Sarah Klein, 4 Things That Can Happen if You’re Not Getting Enough Magnesium.

Paul R. Thomas, Ed.D., R.D.N., was quoted in the Los Angeles Times article (April 1) by Alene Dawson, Are You Getting Enough B12?

Barbara C. Sorkin, Ph.D., was quoted in the ScienceLine.com article (April 11) by Kelsey Kennedy, The Search for an Effective Dietary Supplementexternal link disclaimer. The article featured research from the grantees in the Centers for Advancing Research on Botanical and Other Natural Products (CARBON) Program, a partnership of ODS and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D., was quoted in the Nutraceuticals World article (January 5) by Dr. Richard A. Lovett, Ingredient Authentication in the Labexternal link disclaimer. Dr. Betz was also the subject of the article, ABC Advisory Board Member Spotlight: Joseph Betz, PhD (December 2015), written by Connor Yearsley, Assistant Editor of HerbalGram, the journal of the American Botanical Council.

ODS Update provides information on news, activities, and resources from the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). ODS is a program office within the Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The mission of ODS is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population.

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About ODS

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the principal biomedical and behavioral research agency of the United States Government. NIH is a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Contact Us

Office of Dietary Supplements
National Institutes of Health
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Bethesda, MD 20892-7517

Email: ods@nih.gov
Website: https://ods.od.nih.gov