2017 W.O. Atwater Memorial Lecturer Renews Call for Excellence in Nutrition Research

Dan Industry News Release


Dennis M. Bier, M.D. presents the ARS W.O. Atwater Memorial Lecture at the Experimental Biology meeting in Chicago on April 25.

“Traveling the Road from Precision to Imprecision: Have I Gone in the Wrong Direction?” is the title of Dennis M. Bier‘s 2017 Agricultural Research Service (ARS) W. O. Atwater Memorial Lecture, which he delivered at the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting in Chicago.

Bier is a renowned advocate for the highest standards of experiment design and increased rigor in nutritional research. He has forcefully promoted the need to enhance the quality of data that nutrition research is generating, especially data used for formulating nutrition guidelines and recommendations.

While calling on industry to provide more support for research, Bier has also called for expanding safeguards that keep for-profit interests from having undue influence on research.

ARS established the W.O. Atwater Memorial Lecture in 1968 to honor the memory of Wilbur Olin Atwater (1844-1907) and to recognize scientists who have made unique contributions toward improving the diet and nutrition of people around the world. Considered the father of modern nutrition research and education, Atwater was the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) first chief of nutrition investigations.

As a researcher, Bier’s research led to many notable achievements. These include increasing our understanding of infants’ caloric needs, as well as the energy needs of specific human organs. This is especially critical knowledge for more successful care of premature infants.

Bier also spearheaded the development of groundbreaking methods to replace radioactive isotopes with non-radioactive markers and tracers in human metabolism research.

He is the only person to serve as president of all three major academic nutrition societies: the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, the American Society for Nutritional Sciences, and the American Society for Nutrition.

Today, Bier is a professor of pediatrics and director of the Children’s Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

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