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Helen Guthrie
Helen Guthrie
Helen Guthrie, longtime nutritional sciences faculty member, dies at 92
Helen Guthrie, who served for 40 years as a Penn State faculty member, including 14 years as head of the nutrition department, passed away on Feb. 24. She was 92.
Woman stretching her arm and shoulder
Woman stretching her arm and shoulder
Researcher to study the effect of exercise on breast cancer metastases
Connie Rogers has been awarded a scientific research grant by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR).

Faculty News

From left, Lynn Parker Klees, Shawnee Kelly and Gina Pazzaglia at the 2018 Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting on April 7. Klees and Pazzaglia were awarded the Outstanding Dietetic Educator award.

  • Lynn Parker Klees and Gina Pazzaglia have been awarded the Outstanding Dietetic Educator award from The Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Klees also accepted the position of Professor-in-Charge of Undergraduate Education in the department.
  • Penny Kris-Etherton received the 2018 Dannon Institute Mentorship Award. This award is given for outstanding mentorship in the development of successful nutritional research science investigators.
  • Matam Vijay-Kumar, associate professor, received the 2018 American Society for Nutrition E.L.R. Stokstad Award. This award is given for outstanding fundamental research in nutrition.
  • Xiang Gao’s publication, "Prospective study of restless legs syndrome and total and cardiovascular mortality among women," was picked up by local news. Gao was invited to design a logo for the China Center at Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School. Additionally, Gao and his colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School received a grant to study the MC1R gene, a major red-head gene, and Parkinson's disease progression in animal model and humans. Gao will be in charge of the epidemiology aim, in which seven cohorts from the United States and Germany will be included. This is the biggest study in the world to study genetic determinant for Parkinson's disease progression.
  • Barbara Rolls' Volumetrics ranked in the top five for Best Diet Overall by U.S. News and World Report. Rolls is professor and the Helen A. Guthrie Chair of Nutritional Sciences.
  • Professor Emeritus Michael Green and doctoral candidate Jennifer Ford presented workshops hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Atomic Energy Agency for researchers. The forum involved ongoing international studies related to Vitamin A status in children exposed to multiple sources of Vitamin A. Ford presented her dissertation research on the use of model-based compartmental analysis to validate a population-based approach for estimating Vitamin A total body stores in children. Green discussed the question of restricting Vitamin A intake when using stable isotopes to predict stores. In March, Green and Ford spent three weeks at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom analyzing data from those field studies and participating in an international training school on carotenoid bioavailability. The training was hosted by EUROCAROTEN, the European network to advance carotenoid research and applications in agro-food and health.

Undergraduate and Graduate Student News

  • Bowen Zheng, a junior, will work at the Student Farm at Penn State this summer to complete his undergraduate field experience. His roles will include learning about food production, applying his nutrition training to develop new materials for the farm—including recipe videos—and teaching Community Supported Agriculture members and students in the dining commons about healthy eating and cooking. Zheng's experience, which begins in May, represents the first time a nutritional sciences student will complete his or her undergraduate fieldwork at a farm.
  • Ruth Pobee, doctoral student in Laura Murray-Kolb’s lab, received funding from the Africana Research Center at Penn State for research on the assessment of iron status and psychosocial variables in pregnant women in Ghana.
  • Kate Bowen, a doctoral candidate in Penny Kris-Etherton's lab, received a travel grant to attend the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions from the Global Organization for EPA and DHA Mmega-3's. Learn more about Bowen's work.
  • Two graduate students won awards at the 33rd Annual Graduate Exhibition in April. In the "Health and Life Sciences" category, Alyssa Tindall, a doctoral student in Penny Kris-Etherton's lab, won first place for her research presentation, "Cardiovascular Benefits of Replacing Saturated Fat with Polyunsaturated Fat or Monounsaturated Fat from Walnuts or Vegetable Oils." In the "Social and Behavioral Sciences" category, Ruth Pobee won third place for her research presentation, "Hemoglobin Concentration is Associated with Affective Variables in Early Pregnancy."

Student Nutrition Association News

The Student Nutrition Association hosted a a table at the HUB-Robeson Center in honor of National Nutrition Month in March, where they provided educational materials.

The Student Nutrition Association (SNA) has reached out to the community in a variety of ways this past semester, including volunteering at the downtown State College Meals on Wheels, collecting food for the the Penn State Lion’s Pantry, and volunteering with University Health Services' cooking night. During National Nutrition Month in March the SNA hosted a table at the HUB-Robeson Center. The National Nutrition Month speaker was Julia Grocki, RDN and LDN, who presented, "Building a Healthy Relationship with Food with Mindfulness."

The SNA also held elections for the next academic year. Congratulations to the board members for the 2018-2019 school year:

  • Mackenzie Lombardi — President
  • Paris Winston — Vice President
  • Rebecca Harvey — Treasurer
  • Valerie Snell — Secretary
  • Grace Thomas — Community Service (Lead - National Nutrition Month)
  • Giulia Tino — Community Service (Lead - Liaison - Outreach)

For more information about the SNA or to get involved, email president Mackenzie Lombardi at


The Nutrition and Dietetics Alumni Society (NDAS) sponsored a series of events for alumni and students on Feb. 25 at the Nittany Lion Inn. The event featured a networking event in which alumni met with students to share career experiences and advice. Alumni Nick McCormick, Mike Flock, Jill Jayne, Heather Rudalavage, Sarah Brandmeier, and Chantal Kropp shared their experiences with students.

Approximately one-hundred students, faculty and alumni attended the brunch, in which two awards were presented: the John Edgar Smith Outstanding Senior Award to Ella Lundquist, and the Outstanding Nutrition Alumni Award to Sandra Schlicker. Laura Murray-Kolb, associate professor and professor-in-charge of the graduate program, presented an update on department accomplishments. Connie Rogers, associate professor of nutrition and physiology, presented the research in her laboratory about the role of nutrition in modulating inflammation and immune responses.

Alumni interested in getting more involved with NDAS should email and join our NDAS Facebook group.

Online MPS in Nutritional Sciences

Offered by the Department of Nutritional Sciences through the Penn State World Campus, the Master of Professional Studies in Nutritional Sciences launched in October 2016, and accepted its first class of students this past summer.

Since the inaugural MPS class in Summer 2017, the program has seen consistent, positive growth in student enrollment.

"We are also receiving very positive feedback from students," said Gina Pazzaglia, MPS director. "For example, a number of our students have noted that they are taking skills learned in the graduate courses and directly applying them in their workplace to advance practice or make policy and program changes."

The Master of Professional Studies (MPS) in Nutritional Sciences is a 30-credit online graduate degree program that may be completed in 24 months of study. This program is designed to prepare graduate students for evidence-based advanced practice and leadership in the field of nutrition and dietetics. The program is suited for Registered Dietitians who are interested in advancing their career with a graduate degree, or students from other health or science-related backgrounds who are seeking cross training in nutrition or a career-change.

The courses in the program are developed through a high-quality, two-semester course development process, and are student-centered, focus on higher-order thinking skills, incorporate meaningful use of technology, and are directly applicable to the work place. The program culminates in a capstone project in which students identify an issue or problem in their work setting, and produce, implement and evaluate an evidence-based solution.

Thus far, the MPS in Nutritional Sciences program has attracted a diverse pool of applicants that are reviewed on a rolling basis. New students are accepted every semester, and applicants may apply to the program with a planned start of fall, spring or summer semester.

Penn State Dietetic Internship (DI) alumni are offered the opportunity to apply up to nine graduate credits earned during the DI towards MPS in Nutritional Sciences graduate coursework.

For more information about the MPS in Nutritional Sciences program, contact Pazzaglia at or Shawnee Kelly, MPS coordinator, at

Stay Connected

The Department of Nutritional Sciences is now on Facebook and Twitter.

Annual Giving Campaign

Thank you to those who have helped the Department of Nutritional Sciences' journey towards a Core Nutrients Lab, where students will be able to see, collect and analyze samples as part of their undergraduate studies, and where faculty and graduate students will be able to perform research to answer questions about how micronutrients affect critical stages of development. The campaign is still open. For more information or to make a gift, visit