During a distinguished career spanning more than four decades, Catharine “Cathy” Ross, Ph.D., has contributed extensively to the science of nutrition, especially experimental nutrition. Now the Journal of Nutrition, for which Ross served as editor-in-chief from 2004 to 2013, has honored her by establishing the A. Catharine Ross Award in Experimental Nutrition.

A woman, Catharine Ross, Ph.D.,sitting at a table with a Modern Nutrition textbook. She is wearing a black blouse with a brown jacket.
Catharine Ross, Ph.D., has been recognized by the Journal of Nutrition with a new award in experimental nutrition that bears her name. (Michael Miller/Texas A&M AgriLife)

Ross is a professor in the Department of Nutrition in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She also is part of the Texas A&M Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture, IHA, a unit within Texas A&M AgriLife Research, where she serves as the scientific director of a maternal/child cohort study.

Her addition to the IHA supports the Governor’s University Research Initiative, which is focused on helping higher education public institutions in Texas recruit distinguished researchers from around the world.

“Dr. Ross’ eponymous award exemplifies the critical research being conducted at the Texas A&M Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture,” said G. Cliff Lamb, Ph.D., director of AgriLife Research and interim head of the institute. “We could not be prouder of Dr. Ross’ research and accomplishments, and we look forward to supporting all her innovations still to come.”

About the new experimental nutrition award

The new award, sponsored by Research Diets Inc., was established to encourage new submissions and recognize outstanding nutrition research related to animal models and experimental diets. It will be given each year to the first author or authors of an outstanding research paper published in the journal during the preceding year.

An honorarium of $1,000 will be given to the lead author of the research, and the award recipient will be recognized at the annual scientific meeting of the American Society for Nutrition.

“Receiving this recognition is a tremendous compliment, and I could not be more honored,” Ross said. “Serving as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nutrition for 10 years was a privilege as well as a learning experience that I continue to treasure. All of the very interesting papers we published reminded me that every discovery, every breakthrough in nutrition research is not just a testament to the scientific prowess of the authors, but a steppingstone that others can use to innovate and further explore the intricate relationship between food and health.”

The journal’s current editor-in-chief, Xingen Lei, Ph.D., said the editorial board of the Journal of Nutrition was delighted to initiate this award honoring Ross’ legacy as an outstanding educator, mentor and scientist.  

“Dr. Ross’ vision, leadership and research excellence have empowered the Journal of Nutrition, as a flagship journal, to stimulate basic discoveries and real-world applications of nutrition worldwide,” Lei said.

Ross’ contributions to public health through nutrition

Ross’ 40-plus year career has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to academic affairs and public service. She is nationally recognized and respected for her research with vitamins A and D, pregnancy, lactation, and neonatal lung and immune responses. This includes investigating innovative approaches to improve maternal and child health outcomes and to reduce chronic disease risk from suboptimal nutrition.

“Cathy’s contributions to our work have greatly elevated our integrated approach to public health nutrition, with an emphasis on maternal and child health,” said David Threadgill, Ph.D., head of the department. “She has been at the forefront of integrating basic science into the application of new knowledge that improves human health.”

Ross said the field of nutritional sciences continues to unlock the mysteries of nutrition and to help nourish the world.

A woman, Catharine Ross, Ph.D., sits at a lab table. She is wearing blue rubber gloves and a white lab coat.
Catharine Ross, Ph.D., is renowned for her wide-ranging research on vitamins A and D, pregnancy, lactation, and neonatal lung and immune responses. (Michael Miller/Texas A&M AgriLife)

“For my own research, I try to bring my training in nutrition and biochemistry together with concepts in immunology and genetics to understand how micronutrients like vitamin A work in our cells and throughout the body,” Ross said. “The long-term goal is for knowledge that will drive better health outcomes and increase human potential.”

Ross earned her undergraduate education at the University of California at Davis, and master’s degree in nutrition and doctorate degree in biochemistry from Cornell University.

She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has served as a scientific adviser to the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ross has published more than 270 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters and reviews.  

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