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The Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum

2018 Speaker Information

Regan Bailey

Regan Lucas Bailey, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., C.P.H., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University, and directs the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Purdue Nutrition Assessment Center. Prior to academic life, Dr. Bailey was a Nutritional Epidemiologist and Director of Career Development and Outreach at the Office of Dietary Supplements, Office of Disease Prevention, at the National Institutes of Health. The overarching goal of Dr. Bailey’s research program is to prevent or lessen the risk of chronic disease through improved nutrition. Much of Dr. Bailey’s research focuses on monitoring the health and nutritional status of the United States population through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). She utilizes the NHANES data to determine the usage patterns of and methodological issues relating to dietary supplements, to characterize the American dietary landscape, to identify the best methods for assessment of biomarkers of nutritional status, and importantly, to understand how nutritional exposures relate to health outcomes.

Dr. Bailey is a Registered Dietitian who completed a dietetic internship and M.S. in Food and Nutrition from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bailey received her Ph.D. in Nutrition Science from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Bailey completed an M.P.H from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and is Certified in Public Health.

Joe Betz

Joseph M. Betz, Ph.D., is the director of the Analytical Methods and Reference Materials Program in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). He earned a B.Sc. in biology at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science (PCP&S) in 1976 and an M.Sc. in marine and environmental science at C.W. Post/Long Island University. Mentored by Ara Der Marderosian, Dr. Betz earned a Ph.D. in pharmacognosy at PCP&S. He joined the Division of Natural Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for postdoctoral work under Sam Page. After 2 years, he accepted a full-time job as a research chemist at FDA, where he remained for 12 years. Following his work at FDA, he moved on to become vice president for scientific and technical affairs at the American Herbal Products Association. He joined the NIH ODS as the director of the newly created Analytical Methods and Reference Materials Program in 2002. In that capacity, he oversees several large intra- and extra-governmental initiatives with the goal of providing stakeholders with rugged, validated analytical methods for measuring natural products in research, industrial, and regulatory settings. Dr. Betz is also an adjunct associate professor in the Pharmacology Department at the Georgetown University School of Medicine and in the Department of Cell Biology and Biotechnology at his alma mater in Philadelphia (now called the University of the Sciences).

Dr. Betz has been an active member of the American Society of Pharmacognosy (ASP) since 1979 and has served the Society in a number of ways, including membership on the organizing committee for the 2006 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC, and as past chair of the ASP Job Service Committee. He is a member and fellow of AOAC International and is a member of ACS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Society for Economic Botany, and the Society of Toxicology. He is a reviewer for the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of AOAC International. He is also a member of the United States Pharmacopeia’s Expert Committee on Dietary Supplements. Dr. Betz is an internationally recognized scientist, serving on expert scientific advisory committees for the governments of Canada and Hong Kong. He author or co-author of over 85 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters. He is also the recipient of the American Botanical Council’s first Norman R. Farnsworth award for excellence in Botanical Research, the American Herbal Product Association’s Herbal Insight Award for contributions to the Botanical Sciences, AOAC International’s Technical Division on Reference Materials Reference Material Achievement Award, and ASP’s Varro E. Tyler Prize for outstanding scientific contributions to the broad field of dietary supplements, with special emphasis on botanicals. He was recently recognized by the NIH Office of the Director with an Honor Award for his contributions to the establishment and development of the ODS Vitamin D Standardization Program.

Paul Coates

Paul Coates, Ph.D., directs the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health in its mission to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements. Through a range of initiatives made possible by an energetic and knowledgeable staff, he has established ODS as a strong and authoritative voice for rigorous science in dietary supplements and related areas of nutrition. ODS addresses many of the issues in dietary supplements, from evaluation of the literature to supporting and conducting science, and translating the results of that work into reliable and effective information for the public.

Dr. Coates served as Acting Director of the NIH Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) from December 2010 through September 2012. Dr. Coates also served from 1996–1999 as Deputy Director of the Division of Nutrition Research Coordination (DNRC) at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). In that role, Dr. Coates helped to coordinate human nutrition research efforts, both at the NIH and between the NIH and other government agencies. Dr. Coates acted as Co-Chair of the joint DHHS/USDA Steering Committee overseeing plans for the National Nutrition Summit that was held in Washington in May 2000. He is a member of the Federal Steering Committee that oversees the development of the Dietary Reference Intakes. He is Co-Executive Secretary of the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research and Chair of the Federal Working Group on Dietary Supplements. Prior to joining the DNRC, Dr. Coates was NIDDK’s Program Director for the Type 2 Diabetes Research Program (1993–1996) and Project Officer for the multi-center clinical study called Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (1994–1996). From 1994 until his departure from NIDDK, he maintained an active role in career development and fellowship training in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases.

In 2011, he received the Conrad A. Elvehjem Award from the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) for public service in nutrition. In 2013, he became a Fellow of the ASN and currently serves on the ASN Board of Directors. He is lead editor of the Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements, now in its second edition, and associate editor of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Prior to his career at NIH, he was on the faculty of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His Ph.D. in human genetics was awarded by Queen's University in Canada, followed by postdoctoral training in the Department of Human Genetics and Biometry at University College London.

Tod Cooperman

Tod Cooperman, M.D., is a noted researcher, writer, and commentator on consumer healthcare issues and is the Founder of, of which he is President, and, of which he is CEO.

Recognizing a lack of quality standards and oversight in the U.S. dietary supplement industry, Dr. Cooperman founded in 1999 along with an FDA scientist. has become the leading independent evaluator of dietary supplements, publishing reports for consumers and health professionals at Dr. Cooperman has been called as an expert witness by committees of both U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate to give testimony regarding the quality and regulation of dietary supplements.

In 2002, responding to the rapid growth in online pharmacy, Dr. Cooperman founded, which independently evaluates online pharmacies in the U.S. and internationally. The company’s website is also a popular drug price comparison site for consumers seeking affordable medication from independently verified pharmacies.

In 1994 Dr. Cooperman founded CareData Reports, a leading managed care consumer research company later acquired by J.D. Power and Associates.

Earlier in his career, Dr. Cooperman was involved in the assessment and development of products in the healthcare field, first as Business Analyst with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, then as Director of Business Development for the biotechnology company Synaptic Pharmaceuticals, and then as a Consultant with the pharmaceutical and medical device consulting firm, The Wilkerson Group.

Cindy D. Davis

Cindy D. Davis, Ph.D., is the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) director of grants and extramural activities, encouraging partnerships with other NIH Institutes and Centers to facilitate funding of important research on dietary supplements. Before coming to ODS, she was a program director in the Nutritional Sciences Research Group for 9 years at the NIH National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Davis received her B.S. from Cornell University and her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, with a minor in human cancer biology, and completed postdoctoral training at NCI. Prior to joining NIH, she was a research nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center in North Dakota.

Tawana E. Davis

Tawana E. Davis, J.D., is an attorney in the Division of Advertising Practices in the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission. Since joining the Commission in 2002, Ms. Davis has worked primarily on health-related advertising matters. Ms. Davis has been a member of litigation teams in several federal district court and administrative cases including, FTC v. NPB Advertising, Inc. et al., 8:14-CV-01155 (M.D. FL.), FTC v. Russell Dalbey, 11-CV-1396 (D. Colo.), In the Matter of POM Wonderful, Docket. No. 9344, and FTC v. National Urological Group, No. 1:04-CV-3294 (N.D. Ga.). From 2007 to 2010, Ms. Davis served as an Attorney-Advisor to Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour working on consumer protection matters. Prior to joining the Commission, Ms. Davis worked at the U.S. Department of Justice as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division in Washington, D.C. and an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Civil Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore, Maryland. She also served as a law clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. in Brooklyn, New York and as a litigation associate at the law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel. Ms. Davis received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and B.A. in Political Science from Columbia University.

Patricia A. Deuster

Patricia A. Deuster, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a Professor in the Department of Military and Emergency Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) in Bethesda, Maryland and Director for the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP), the Defense Center of Excellence for Human Performance Optimization Translation. She obtained an AB in Mathematics and Computer Science and MA in Education and Physical Education from the College of William and Mary, a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Physiology from the University of Maryland, and a MPH with an emphasis in public health and epidemiology from USU.

Dr. Deuster chairs the Department of Defense (DoD) Dietary Supplement Subcommittee, is a member of the DoD Food and Nutrition Subcommittee, serves on the DoD Human Performance Optimization Committee, the VA/DoD Health Executive Committee Women’s Health Work Group, the DoD Nutrition Committee, and the DoD Population Health Working Group. She also oversee the DoD Operational Supplement Safety (OPSS) Initiative. She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and has over 200 peer-reviewed papers and numerous book chapters and books relating to human performance with a focus on health, total force fitness, nutrition, dietary supplements, physical performance, and exertional-related health events. In addition she has developed multiple educational materials related to human performance and total force fitness: Visit the CHAMP Human Performance Resource Center and Operation Supplement Safety websites. Dr. Deuster is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit and received the Special Operations Medical Researcher Award from the Special Operations Medical Association in 2014.

She was the author of the first U.S. Navy SEAL Nutrition Guide sponsored by U.S. Special Operations Command and, because of its success, was commissioned to update the nutrition guide for the United States Special Operations Commands (USSOCOM). Dr. Deuster has conducted research in the area of sports and warrior performance for over 30 years. She has been a tennis professional, nationally ranked marathoner, qualifier for the First Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials, triathlete, skydiver with over 100 jumps, and world-wide scuba diver. In addition, she is an invited speaker throughout the country on health, nutrition and human performance.

Johanna Dwyer

Johanna Dwyer, D.Sc., R.D., attended Cornell University and received her M.S. from the University of Wisconsin and her M.Sc. and D.Sc. from the Harvard School of Public Health. After several years on the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health, she moved to Tufts University and New England Medical Center (now Tufts Medical Center), where she serves as director of the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at the Medical Center. She is a professor of medicine and community health at Tufts University School of Medicine and also at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts, as well as a senior scientist at the Jean Mayer U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts. She served as an assistant administrator for human nutrition at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (2001–2002) and later as a senior nutrition scientist at the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (2003–2011) while on the Tufts faculty through the interagency personnel acquisition program. She is now a senior nutrition scientist as a contractor at ODS. Dr. Dwyer was a member of the year 2000 Dietary Guidelines Committee and a member of the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. She is also a member of and served on the Council of the Institute of Medicine (now Health and Medicine Division), National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Dwyer has written over 520 research and review articles in scientific journals and books. She has been the editor of Nutrition Today, a comprehensive review journal, since 1995. The goal of Nutrition Today is to provide authoritative coverage of developments in nutrition science, nutrition policy, and the cultural aspects of food and nutrition to nutrition practitioners in all sectors. She is visiting faculty at the University of Maryland; external examiner at the Irish National University, Dublin, Ireland; and on the scientific review committee for A*STAR clinical nutrition unit at the University of Singapore, Singapore. Dr. Dwyer’s honors include membership in the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (elected 1998); the W.O. Atwater Award (1995); the Harvard School of Public Health Distinguished Alumnae Award (2004); the C.A. Elvejhem Award of the American Society of Nutrition (2005); fellow, American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (2012); Institute of Food Technologists Trailblazer Award and Lectureship (2014); and the American Society for Nutrition’s Excellence in Nutrition Education Award in 2015. She is past president of both the American Society of Nutrition (formerly the American Institute of Nutrition) and the Society for Nutrition Education, and a fellow of both organizations. She also served in Congress as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow.

Dr. Dwyer’s career has been devoted to expanding the scientific basis for clinical and public health interventions related to diet, especially in obesity, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease, and to ensuring that public policy fosters such efforts. She agrees with the view of her mentor, Jean Mayer, the late president of Tufts University, that nutrition is not only a discipline but an agenda of problems that must be solved.

Abby Ershow

Abby G. Ershow, Sc.D., R.D., FAHA, has served as a senior nutrition scientist at the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements since December 2014. She served as an extramural program director (nutrition) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute from 1989 to 2014. Prior to that, she was a staff fellow in the Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program of the National Cancer Institute from 1982 to 1989. She completed a detail assignment as a visiting analyst at the U.S. Government Accountability Office in 2007.

Dr. Ershow was awarded the Sc.D. in nutrition, physiology, and biostatistics from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1979. She received a B.A. from Cornell University in biological sciences (physiology) in 1973. In 2006, she earned the Certificate in Public Leadership from the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC. Dr. Ershow also received certificates from the Balanced Scorecard Institute, Cary, NC, in strategic planning (2011) and performance measure development (2013).

A registered and Maryland-licensed dietitian, she is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the American Chemical Society. In 2007, she was elected a fellow of the American Heart Association. She is the author or co-author of 9 book chapters and over 50 peer-reviewed articles and monographs. She also was a coordinating editor for the only full-length text on conducting controlled diet studies in humans.

Dr. Ershow’s areas of interest include maternal and child health, cardiovascular nutrition, exercise physiology, preventive medicine, vascular biology, public health, nutritional epidemiology, nutrition and developmental disabilities, food chemistry, and metrics for evaluation of program effectiveness. A recent focus is assessment of iodine status and databases on the iodine content of foods and dietary supplements. Other longstanding interest areas include heart failure, diabetes, obesity, peripheral arterial disease, chronic kidney disease, and the use of biomedical engineering approaches to address nutrition research issues. She has particular expertise with interagency agreements and other collaborative funding mechanisms.

Bill J. Gurley

Bill J. Gurley, Ph.D., is Professor and Vice-Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Pharmacy, Director of the UAMS Clinical Pharmacokinetics Research Laboratory, Chair of the UAMS Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. He is a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, as well as the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention’s Expert Panel on Dietary Supplements. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications, abstracts, and book chapters in the areas of pharmacokinetics, analytical method development, therapeutic drug monitoring, herbal dietary supplements, and herb-drug interactions. His research interests include mechanisms of herb-drug interactions, toxicity of multiple-component herbal dietary supplements, phytochemical modulation of human drug-metabolizing enzymes and drug transport proteins, pharmacokinetics of phytochemcials in humans, and botanical supplement use in special populations. Dr. Gurley has been conducting pre-clinical and clinical research on botanical dietary supplements for more than 20 years. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Tennessee Technological University and his B.S. in pharmacy and Ph.D. in pharmaceutics from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Carol Haggans

Carol Haggans, M.S., R.D., is a scientific and health communications consultant with the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In this role, she handles a variety of health communications activities including writing and updating the ODS dietary supplement fact sheets and the consumer-focused e-newsletter, The Scoop. She also responds to inquiries from consumers, health professionals, and the media about dietary supplements. Ms. Haggans is also a member of the NIH Nutrition Education Subcommittee, a group that reviews nutrition education materials written for the public to ensure consistency with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Before becoming a consultant, Ms. Haggans was a program analyst with ODS from 1999 to 2004. During that time, she coordinated the development and implementation of the Computer Access to Research on Dietary Supplements database of federally funded research on dietary supplements and was involved with the design and maintenance of the ODS website.

Ms. Haggans is a member of the American Society for Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She received an M.S. in nutrition from the University of Minnesota where she conducted clinical research on the effects of flaxseed consumption on estrogen metabolism and breast cancer risk. Prior to that, Ms. Haggans worked in the information technology field as a manufacturing and technical service engineer after receiving a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.

James Hamblin

James Hamblin, M.D., is a writer and senior editor at The Atlantic. He hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk, for which he was a finalist in the Webby awards for Best Web Personality. He is a past Yale University Poynter Fellow in journalism, and he has lectured at Harvard Medical School, Wharton Business School, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and SXSW, among others.

His writing and videos have been featured in The New York Times, Politico, NPR, The Guardian, Elle, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, The Awl, The Los Angeles Times, and Marketplace, among others. Time named him among the 140 people to follow on Twitter, Greatist named him among the most influential people in health media, and BuzzFeed called him "the most delightful MD ever," though he is not as delightful as William Carlos Williams.

After medical school at Indiana University, he did three years of residency before joining The Atlantic to develop a health section and write. More on that at Columbia Journalism Review, The Washington Post, Journal of the American College of Radiology, and Politico.

Mary Hardy

Mary Hardy, M.D., board certified in internal medicine and a specialist in botanical and integrative medicine, has actively combined complementary and alternative therapies with traditional Western medicine for over twenty-five years in both her clinical practice and research projects. After completing her undergraduate studies at Vassar College, she returned to her hometown, New Orleans, to attend medical school at Louisiana State University. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Tufts New England Medical Center.

In 1998, Dr. Hardy founded the Integrative Medicine Clinic at Cedars-Sinai and participated in a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) funded research project that evaluated the barriers and facilitators of Integrative Medicine practice based on her clinic. She also has extensive experience in evaluating the evidence base for the efficacy and safety of complementary/integrative medicine as part of her work as a research associate at the RAND Corporation.

Over her five years at RAND, Dr. Hardy was the co-principle investigator in a number of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) topics conducted in the Evidence Based Practice Center at RAND. Her projects there, sponsored by NCCAM, included assessing data for the safety of ephedra as well as the efficacy and safety of alternative cancer practices. She has served on and chaired several United States Pharmacopeia (USP) expert committees examining the safety of selected dietary supplements and chaired the USP committee, Dietary Supplements Safety Modeling Expert Panel. The panel is tasked with developing methodology to assess risk in multi-component dietary supplements (including botanical products). She has also served for years on the External Advisory Council for the Natural Product Directorate for the Canadian Ministry of Health assessing scientific issues pertinent to regulatory issues and serving as an expert in natural products risk assessment and clinical trial design.

Additionally, Dr. Hardy served for two and half years as the Associate Director of the UCLA Botanical Research Center, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Her duties there included identifying high quality botanical extracts to be used in human and animal studies on the efficacy of herbal products to interrupt carcinogenesis. She was responsible for the identification of the plants, education of the fellows and researchers on the principles of botanical medicine and direction of the research projects as well as the assurance that tested samples were free of contaminants.

Dr. Hardy, the recent past Medical Director of the Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, is a recognized leader in the field of Integrative Oncology. She has served as a board member of the Society for Integrative Oncology and as co-leader of the Oncology Interest Group in the Consortium of Academic Health Centers of Integrative Medicine. She has been a member of the Stiles Integrative Oncology Center at UCLA and has been co-director of a fourth year elective in Integrative Oncology.

In an effort to improve oncology care for cancer patients, she serves as the medical director for Novateur, a startup company formed to facilitate the development and commercialization of a novel technique for sentinel lymph node identification. This project has completed the end of phase II meeting at the FDA and is preparing for stage III clinical trials.

She has also helped to establish the Integrative Medicine Health and Wellness Program at the Venice Family Clinic, the largest free clinic in the United States and served as the Co-director of that program. Dr. Hardy was co-director for the successful multi-disciplinary clinical program for the management of chronic pain that has been established as a result of her team’s efforts.

Dr. Hardy has recently completed a popular book for Readers Digest entitled Best Remedies and serves on a number of editorial and scientific advisory boards including the American Botanical Council, Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Phytomedicine and Integrative Medicine: A Clinicians Journal.

Dr. Hardy is recognized as an authority on integrative medicine and herbal/natural products by organizations such as the Office of Dietary Supplements, the California Medical Board, the Canadian government, the United States Pharmacopeia, American Medical Association, the American Pharmaceutical Association, National Geographic, CBS, NBC, Discovery Channel and the Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Hardy’s current research interests include reviewing the evidence for the safety and efficacy of natural therapies, especially botanicals as well as conducting clinical trials of dietary supplements and lifestyle choices to reduce toxicity and to improve outcomes of conventional cancer treatment. She also has a long-standing interest in patients who have shown exceptional responses during cancer care.

Laura Harkness

Laura Harkness, Ph.D., R.D., FACN, is the Global Reseach and Development (R&D) Vice President for Health & Wellbeing and Personal Care at Church & Dwight, leading the Nutritional Products, Sexual Health, Women’s Health, Oral Care, Beauty Care, and OTC/ Pharma R&D teams. Prior to joining Church & Dwight, Laura was a Senior Director in Global R&D Nutrition Sciences at PepsiCo, where she led the Nutrition Science team for the Global Snacking, Beverage, and Nutrition Product Groups. Preceding PepsiCo, she worked at Nestlé with a focus on innovation and research program development and clinical trial management for the chilled and frozen foods businesses. Earlier in her career, she was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland with a research focus on nutrients that are important in bone health. In addition, her career in science and clinical care has encompassed research and providing care for patients in adult and pediatric intensive care, adolescent medicine, gastroenterology, and surgical units.

Laura received her Bachelor of Science, Master’s of Science, and Doctoral degrees in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University. She has authored numerous scientific papers as well as book chapters. Laura is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and is currently an active member of several professional organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Society of Nutrition, and Personal Care Products Association, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

Adam J. Kuszak

Adam J. Kuszak, Ph.D., joined the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) in November 2015 after first serving ODS as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Science & Technology Policy Fellow in 2014. In supporting the administration of the ODS Analytical Materials and Reference Materials Program, Dr. Kuszak routinely works with dietary supplement research and development stakeholders from academic, government, and industry sectors. In addition, he assists in ODS program assessment and research portfolio analysis, as well as activities pertaining to mitochondrial disorders as part of the Nutrition and Dietary Supplement Interventions for Inborn Errors of Metabolism Program. Dr. Kuszak earned his Ph.D. in pharmacology at the University of Michigan and completed postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Laura MacCleery

Laura MacCleery, J.D., Policy Director, is a seasoned legislative and regulatory campaigner for improvements to public health and democracy. A strategic thinker with the skills to maximize the legal and political opportunities presented in working with Congress, the regulatory agencies, courts, public and media, she is the author or editor of more than 100 comments to regulatory dockets and 30 major research-based reports, and has testified in state legislatures, the U.S. Congress, and Brussels. She has appeared on national and local television and radio, published dozens of opinion editorials and blog posts, spoken at numerous conferences, rallies and other events, and been quoted frequently in the press.

Douglas 'Duffy' MacKay

Douglas ‘Duffy’ MacKay, N.D., is senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs for the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN). Dr. MacKay oversees CRN’s scientific and regulatory affairs department, ensuring that the association’s scientific, policy and legislative positions are based on credible scientific rationale. His expertise combines practical knowledge of industry regulation and scientific product development with hands-on experience as a medical practitioner.

Dr. MacKay is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor who still sees patients on a part-time basis in an integrative medical practice in Maryland, and previously was owner and practitioner in a family-owned New Hampshire private practice. Prior to joining CRN, Dr MacKay spent eight years working as a medical and nutrition expert for two companies in the dietary supplement industry, including four years as an executive with Nordic Naturals, where he was in charge of clinical research. He previously served as Technical Advisor for Thorne Research. Dr. MacKay has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and serves on the Editorial Board of the peer-reviewed publications: the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, and the official publication of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, Natural Medicine Journal. Dr. MacKay serves on the Advisory Board for the American Botanical Council, the NSF International Joint Committee on Dietary Supplements, the National Institute of Standards Technology/National Institutes of Health, Dietary Supplement Laboratory Quality Assurance Program, and Nutritional Outlook. He is also Chair of the Steering Committee for the SIDI Work Group.

Dr. MacKay earned his undergraduate degree in Marine Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz and his naturopathic medical degree from the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Joyce Merkel

Joyce Merkel, M.S., R.D., is a science and health communications consultant contractor at the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), primarily working on dietary supplement literature databases, and in communication and promotion activities for the Office. Prior to coming to ODS, she was a nutrition information specialist for the Food and Nutrition Information Center at the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Library, working on the website; an assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University in Minnesota; a nutrition specialist for the North Dakota State University Extension Service; a Medicare and Medicaid surveyor for the North Dakota State Health Department; and a hospital clinical dietitian. She received her B.S. and M.S. in nutrition from North Dakota State University and performed doctoral work in nutrition at Syracuse University.

Howard D. Sesso

Howard D. Sesso, Sc.D., M.P.H., FAHA, is an associate epidemiologist at the Divisions of Preventive Medicine and Aging at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, and an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. He received his B.A. in human biology from Stanford University, an M.P.H. in epidemiology from The George Washington University, and an Sc.D. in epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Sesso specializes in the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), including hypertension and obesity as major risk factors, as well as cancer. His research focuses on the role of vitamin and mineral supplements, along with nutritional biomarkers, on the prevention of chronic disease. Dr. Sesso is the associate director of the Division of Preventive Medicine at BWH, as well as director of nutrition research and co-director of hypertension research.

Dr. Sesso is also an expert in the design, methodology, and conduct of epidemiologic studies and randomized clinical trials. He led the Physicians’ Health Study II, a trial that tested a multivitamin, vitamin E, and vitamin C supplements on cardiovascular disease, cancer, eye disease, and other chronic diseases in 14,641 men with more than a decade of treatment and follow-up. Dr. Sesso is also testing vitamin D and fish oil supplements on 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure and risk of developing hypertension in an ancillary study of the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) trial. Dr. Sesso is co-principal investigator of the ongoing COcoa Supplement and Multivitamins Outcomes Study (COSMOS), a randomized, 2x2 factorial trial testing cocoa flavanol and multivitamin supplements in the prevention of CVD and cancer in more than 21,000 women and men with 4 years of treatment and follow-up. Dr. Sesso has published more than 250 papers to date and enjoys teaching as part of a secondary appointment at Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, as well as mentoring new investigators.

Barbara C. Sorkin

Barbara C. Sorkin, Ph.D., is the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Centers for Advancing Research on Botanicals and Other Natural Products Program, an effort to advance the scientific base of knowledge about safety, efficacy, and biological activities of botanicals and other natural products relevant to dietary supplements. Dr. Sorkin administered extramural research efforts in the areas of healthy aging, cancer, and sleep at the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) for 9 years before moving to the Office of Dietary Supplements. While at NCCAM she also coordinated programs to enhance clinical and translational research on complementary and alternative medicine. Dr. Sorkin received her B.S. and M.S. from the Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry Department at Yale University, and her Ph.D. for research completed in the Laboratory of Developmental and Molecular Biology at Rockefeller University. Prior to joining NIH, she was a faculty member at the Forsyth Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, and at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

Sibyl Swift

Sibyl Swift, Ph.D., is a special assistant within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Dietary Supplement Programs. In this role, Dr. Swift works on special projects related to dietary supplements, including coordinating the Office’s research agenda. She also uses her research experience to review dietary ingredient safety.

Before joining FDA, Dr. Swift was a research biochemist in the Department of Defense at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute. While at this facility, she collaborated with fellow investigators to create a novel model of polytrauma and also explored the efficacy of vitamin E isomers as radiation countermeasures. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in a neuroendocrinology laboratory where she directed a Defense Medical Research and Development Program-funded grant exploring a novel method of inducing traumatic brain injury and its effect on stress response. Dr. Swift earned her Ph.D. in nutrition and M.S. in physiology at Texas A&M University. She is currently a member of the American Society for Nutrition and serves as an adjunct faculty member at USUHS in the Department of Military Emergency Medicine.

Paul R. Thomas

Paul R. Thomas, Ed.D., R.D.N., is a full-time scientific consultant at the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). In that capacity he contributes to various projects with most of the ODS scientific staff. Dr. Thomas works primarily in ODS communications, where he prepares dietary supplement fact sheets and other educational materials and interacts with the media. Dr. Thomas also manages the Federal Working Group on Dietary Supplements, which serves as a means of communication between ODS and its Federal partners to co-fund research, expand opportunities for research-investigator training, and strengthen collaborative efforts involving dietary supplement research, education, and communication. He is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a member of the American Society for Nutrition. Previous positions include project director at the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine, fellow and research assistant professor in the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Georgetown University, expert consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, senior staff scientist with the Life Sciences Research Office, and founder of The Dietary Supplement newsletter. He received his Ed.D. in nutrition from Columbia University’s Teachers College.

Merle Zimmermann

Merle Zimmermann, Ph.D., the American Herbal Products Association’s (AHPA) chief information analyst, maintains and updates several online resources that serve the herbal products industry, including an online searchable database of new dietary ingredients submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the online version of AHPA's Botanical Safety Handbook.

Dr. Zimmermann is currently working to expand the Botanical Identity References Compendium, a centralized source of information containing examples and techniques that have been successfully applied to authenticate and qualify selected botanical materials, and on revisions for a new edition of AHPA’s Herbs of Commerce, the standard for all common and scientific plant names used for products containing herbs in the United States today.

Dr. Zimmermann earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Maryland. Dr. Zimmermann’s field of expertise is in applied computational chemistry—a cross-disciplinary field between physical chemistry and applied quantum physics. Dr. Zimmermann was awarded an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation fellowship recognizing his excellence as a student in 2008 and was considered as a finalist for a Ford Diversity Scholarship in 2005.