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young minority

Announcing the 2017 Grand Prize for Young Minority Investigator

By Michael McBurney PhD, FACN

Congratulations to Erika L Garcia-Villatora for being selected as the 2017 recipient of the ASN Grand Prize for Young Minority Investigators, sponsored by DSM Nutritional Products. Erika’s presentation was entitled ‘The aryl hydrocarbon receptor is a repressor of colorectal cancer development induced by a high-fat diet in mice’. Ms Garcia-Villatora is advised by Dr Clinton Allred, Texas A&M University.

Erika (@Eri_Nutri) follows in the footsteps of previous winners: 2016 Valerie Darcey, 2015 Michelle Cardel, University of Colorado, Denver; 2014 Monique LeMieux, Texas Tech University; 2013 Christine Hutchinson, Iowa State University; 2012 Wanida Lewis, North Carolina State University; and  2011 Maria Carlota Dao, Tufts University.

In addition, 5 scholars were selected as finalists for the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) 2017 Young Minority Investigator Award Oral Competition:

Maria J Romo Palafox, University of Connecticut, whose presentation title was ‘Toddler Formulas: Nutritional Value and Marketing’.

Annette Monique Washington, University of Georgia, whose presentation title was 'Effect of Mindful Eating Intervention on Biomarkers of Prognosis and Survival in Overweight and Obese Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Survivors – A Translational Pilot.

Luis E Maldonado, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, whose presentation title was ‘Loss of a Healthy Weight Advantage Among Foreign-born Children of Mexican Origin: An Analysis of Overweight/Obesity Trends from 1988-1994 to 2007-2014’.

Lyndsey D Ruiz, University of California, Davis, whose presentation title was ‘Validity and Reliability of a Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire for Adolescents’.

Samantha M Gonzalez, Texas Tech University, whose presentation title was ‘Mechanisms Mediating Effects of Eicosapentaenoic Acid in Hepatic Steatosis in High Fat Fed Mice and HepG2 Hepatoma Cells’.

To be eligible for the 2017 award, the young investigators must: be an ASN member, be a graduate or medical trainee, have submitted an abstract to a “Nutrition” topic category at Experimental Biology 2017, and indicated they are from a group that is underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences (African American, Hispanic Americans, American Indians/Native Americans who maintain tribal affiliation or community attachment, and Natives of the USA Pacific Islands – Guam, Hawaii and Samoa only). Young investigators were also required to submit a 100 word statement describing how the science is reflected in the abstract submission, their role in the study, and summary of career objectives.

Thanks to the 2016-17 ASN Minority & Diversity Affairs Committee, chaired by Margarita Teran-Garcia, MD, PhD (University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana). She and three others [ASN President Marian L Neuhouser PhD RD (Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center), April Stull PhD, RD (University of Maryland Eastern Shore), and Michael McBurney PhD, FACN (DSM Nutritional Products)] judged the oral presentations.

Each year, ASN awards more than $90,000 in awards and travel grants to students and young professionals. DSM Nutritional Products is proud to sponsor the ASN Minority & Diversity Affairs Committee and Young Minority Investigator Oral Competition and Grand Prize.

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