A key frontier of science
Vitamin E is one of the last nutrients for scientists to understand. The latest developments in equipment innovation have allowed the characterization of oxidation products formed during non-specific lipid peroxidation. In the very near future, we’ll be able to document what fats are being protected by vitamin E.
Specifically, my laboratory is on the cusp of important breakthroughs, and understanding exactly why the human body needs vitamin E. Our research into zebrafish has shown the degree to which their metabolism becomes deranged if vitamin E is insufficient. These findings have huge implications for the human brain, where polyunsaturated fatty acids need vitamin E protection. Already, my work has been instrumental in setting the 2,000 dietary recommendations for vitamin E, and it continues to inform the assessment of sufficiency and excess.
Research is driven by passion - and funding
My own work has been driven by a passion for research and the subject matter. I find asking questions and figuring out approaches to answer the questions very exciting. The best times are when you make a guess about how things work and the experiment shows you’re right.
More generally, I think scientists go where there are interesting problems to solve and there is funding to do the work. It’s heart-breaking to see talented young scientists give up nutrition studies because they cannot find a job. We need to establish better pathways that are not dependent upon becoming a faculty member at a university.