May 16, 2019
Steven Zeisel, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, was awarded the American Institute for Cancer Research’s (AICR) Distinguished Service Award at the institute’s annual meeting May 16.
The award recognizes professionals with outstanding contributions to research and/or education related to nutrition, physical activity and weight management in the field of cancer, as well as extraordinary leadership, commitment and service to AICR.
Zeisel is the director of the UNC Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis, North Carolina, leading continued innovation in and advancement of the science surrounding nutrition and cancer. He has published more than 400 papers, and his research has been cited nearly 15,000 times across many diverse categories.
Zeisel has long been involved in AICR and helped the group, along with the World Cancer Research Fund (WCFR), establish the Institute for the Advanced Study of Diet, Nutrition and Cancer at the University of North Carolina. Housed within the Michael Hooker Research Center at the Gillings School, the institute is an important catalyst for research into the effects of diet on cancer prevention.
“The AICR is internationally recognized for its outstanding work in nutrition and cancer,” Zeisel said. “I believe that their support has built a cohort of young scientists who choose to devote their careers to this area of study. I am honored that my modest contributions helped them with this very important mission.”
Kelly Browning, CEO of AICR, says the institute is delighted to recognize Zeisel for his commitment to advancing knowledge in the fields of nutrition and cancer prevention and for his dedication to AICR’s mission and work.
“Dr. Zeisel was an early champion of AICR, and one of the key figures in forging AICR’s partnership with UNC,” Browning said. “He led the charge to establish the Marilyn Gentry Fellowship Program to open the AICR/WCRF Institute for Advanced Study of Diet, Nutrition and Cancer. These labs today are full of exciting and diverse studies being pursued by students at all levels who are advancing the field and improving public health.”
Zeisel’s primary research focus is on the essential nutrient choline, which is naturally present in some foods and is a source of the methyl groups necessary for metabolism. Zeisel and his team explore why there are individual differences in nutrient metabolism using new approaches in nutrigenomics and metabolomics.
“Dr. Steven Zeisel was the first AICR/WCRF Distinguished Professor in our department for a term of three years when he led the Institute’s strong start,” said Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of nutrition and medicine and chair of the nutrition department. “Since then, he has continued to provide strong leadership in the partnership between UNC and AICR. Within the department, we particularly value his ongoing commitment to supporting faculty and research teams advancing cancer and nutrition research at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute, thus amplifying the support from AICR.”
The AICR Research Conference – this year held at The Carolina Inn adjacent to UNC-Chapel Hill – brings together researchers and health professionals for a three-day scientific program that will address the latest in cancer research, as well as current challenges and controversies. The conference also will highlight the impact of research on populations at risk and cancer patients.
Contact the Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.