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Kathleen Keller joins faculty

Kathleen KellerKathleen Keller will join Penn State in January 2012 as a tenure-track assistant professor of nutritional sciences and of food science. She was recruited as part of a neuroscience interdisciplinary thematic cluster hire supported by the Consortium of Children, Youth and Families (CYFC) to conduct research on adolescent ingestive behavior using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Keller obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology from Marquette University and her Ph.D. degree in nutrition from Rutgers University. Previously, she was an assistant professor at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Obesity Research Center at Columbia University, where she also was affiliated with the Institute of Human Nutrition at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Shelly Nickols-RichardsonShelly Nickols-Richardson named associate research editor for Journal of the American Dietetic Association

Shelly Nickols-Richardson, professor of nutritional sciences, has been named associate research editor for the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Helen Guthrie highlighted at State of the Department presentation

In his September 12, 2011 State of the Department Address, Gordon Jensen, professor and head of nutritional sciences, highlighted Helen Guthrie’s many contributions to Penn State and to the discipline of nutritional sciences. Guthrie joined the department in 1949 and retired with emeritus status in 1992, after 42 years of service. She served as department head on two occasions. Her research in the Philippines and the United States focused on food distribution, feeding practices, dietary adequacy, and evaluation of nutrition education programs. She authored more than 100 publications and several books, and her contributions have been recognized with multiple prestigious awards. In 1989, the Helen A. Guthrie Endowed Chair was announced. This chair currently is occupied by Barbara Rolls, professor of nutritional sciences.

Jill Patterson new undergraduate professor-in-charge

Jill PattersonJill Patterson, assistant professor of nutritional sciences, has been named undergraduate professor-in-charge for nutritional sciences. In this capacity, she will oversee the academic and advising responsibilities related to undergraduate students.

New metabolic research kitchen planned

The department has secured approval to proceed with a major renovation of 311 Chandlee Laboratory to create a new Metabolic Research Kitchen. The facility will be a shared resource for faculty members to conduct feeding studies. It will include a commercial-grade kitchen as well as observation rooms and a common eating area.

Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) funded

Penn State, the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and the Penn State College of Medicine have received a $27.3 million, five-year award from the National Institutes of Health to support the Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute. The award is part of a national consortium of medical research institutions that aims to speed translation of laboratory treatments for patients, to engage communities in clinical research efforts, and to train a new generation of clinical and translational researchers. The Department of Nutritional Sciences’ active participation in the initiative will support its efforts in clinical translational investigation.

Kristina Harris spends summer internship at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland

Kristina Harris, Ph.D. student and the first recipient of the Nestlé Ph.D., R.D. fellowship at Penn State, briefly describes her summer internship experience below.

Kristina Harris

“This past summer, I had the privilege of working at the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. Under the guidance of Dr. Katherine Mace, I joined the Nutrition and Metabolic Health Group, and I was quickly immersed in research on type 2 diabetes. My contributions focused on the composition of the gut microbiota and associated metabolic outcomes, spanning from molecular to clinical studies. I also had the opportunity to write a review on this topic with Dr. Chieh-Jason Chou for the Journal of Obesity. Kristina Harris Beyond my responsibilities in the lab, I attended seminars on topics relating to the business of food industry, sustainability efforts, and international nutrition. The internship presented wonderful networking opportunities. I met with scientists from a joint venture between Nestlé and General Mills, called Cereal Partners Worldwide, and I plan to collaborate with them on my dissertation work here at Penn State. I also found a personal mentor in Alison Eldridge, a Penn State food science alumnus and current employee at the Nestlé Research Center—further proof that Penn State alumni are all over the world! Experiencing Switzerland from a local’s point of view allowed me to learn from the people and their culture—they value work-life balance, good food, simplicity, and family. These values and the people that I met will continue to shape my professional and personal life for years to come.”

Undergraduate program acceptance rate better than national rate

Sixty-eight percent of the Penn State undergraduate students who applied for dietetic internships were accepted in 2010-2011. This is an increase of 3 percent from last year. Of those students, 61 percent were matched to their first choice and 11 percent were matched to their second choice. Students were accepted into internship programs at the following institutions: National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Keene State College, Penn State University, Boston University/Sargent College, Cedar Crest, Florida State University, Texas State University at San Marcos, ARAMARK facilities in Pennsylvania, Ohio State University, University of Maryland, Tulane University, and several others in the local region and throughout the country. Congratulations to our fall 2010 and spring 2011 graduates!

Nutrition and Dietetics Alumni Society (NDAS)

Connecting alumni with students and other alumni through LinkedIn

One of the most important—and most appreciated—efforts undertaken by the NDAS is to assist students in networking with alumni. A request we hear frequently is: How can I get in touch with other graduates in my area? We are working to build the network. Please become a part of it by joining LinkedIn. Visit and then search for "The Pennsylvania State University Nutrition & Dietetic Alumni Society." If you have any questions please contact Amy Preston at

Welcome to two new board members

New members are being welcomed to the board this fall. Carolyn Berdanier is a professor emerita and former head of the Department of Foods and Nutrition at the University of Georgia. Maureen Spill recently completed her Ph.D. degree at Penn State under Barbara Rolls, the Helen A. Guthrie Chair of Nutritional Sciences, and is now a senior associate at the Pew Charitable Trusts. Christine Lewis Taylor and Barbara Winters will be rotating off the board at the end of December.

Alumni, students, and friends mingle at reception during FNCE in San Diego

The conversation was lively on September 25th when Penn State nutrition and dietetics alumni gathered at a reception during the American Dietetic Association's Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) held at the Marriott Marquis in San Diego. All took advantage of the opportunity to get caught up with old friends and to make new acquaintances.

All nutrition alumni are members of NDAS and can follow the NDAS’s activities through its website: The board encourages alumni to provide their current contact information using the link at the website and to suggest activities to enhance the alumni network.

FNCE reception attendee
FNCE reception attendee
FNCE reception attendee

Undergraduate Student Nutrition Association sees increase in membership

The Student Nutrition Association (SNA) has had a busy fall semester with an array of activities. Its first meeting was held on September 13, 2011 with over 100 members in attendance. Its second meeting took place on October 4, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. in the Living Center. At this meeting, Mary Dean Coleman-Kelly and Brenda Eissenstat spoke about the dietetic internship process.

Outside of meetings, SNA members have gotten together to perform community service at Penn State's Center for Sustainability to help with its community garden. They also participated in Penn State's Homecoming Parade for the first time ever.

Future SNA activities include attending a talk by the Food Network star, Alton Brown. Members also will teach a nutrition lesson at State College Area High School that will cover the new “My Plate” icon and general healthy eating habits. Also, a “date auction" is planned to raise money for the local food bank.

Faculty presentations

Gordon Jensen, professor and head of nutritional sciences, spoke at the American Dietetic Association's FNCE meeting in San Diego on “Inflammation: Opportunities for Nutrition Intervention” in September 2011. He also spoke at the Institute of Medicine workshop on “Sarcopenic Obesity and Aging” in Washington, D.C., in October 2011.

Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutritional Sciences, also spoke at the American Dietetic Association's FNCE meeting in San Diego on “Hot Topic: Sodium, Potassium & Calories: Can We Successfully Meet Dietary Guidelines?” in September 2011.

Catharine Ross, professor of nutritional sciences, presented to the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo, Japan, on October 25 regarding the new Institute of Medicine dietary reference intakes for calcium and vitamin D. She also visited with researchers at Jikei University and Omiya Medical Center.

Penny Kris-Etherton appointed to new coordinating committee for the NPRCRPenny Kris-Etherton

In September 2011, Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutritional Sciences, was appointed as the American Dietetic Association's representative for the new National Program to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk (NPRCR) coordinating committee, which is organized by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Support the Department of Nutritional Sciences through your estate plan

Gift planning can allow you to make a gift of surprising significance to Nutritional Sciences and support your personal and philanthropic objectives – often with increased tax benefits or a current income stream. At the same time, you can enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that your gift will provide vital future support for our students, facilities, or programs.

To learn more about securing the future of the Department of Nutritional Sciences–as well as the benefits to you, your heirs, and your estate – please visit the Penn State Office of Gift Planning website at or contact Maggie Crispell, director of development in the College of Health and Human Development ( or 814-865-1064), to talk personally about other ways you can make a gift and invest personally in the future of nutritional sciences at Penn State.