The Medical Research Foundation of Oregon has honored Maret Traber of the OSU College of Public Health and Human Sciences with its annual Discovery Award.

Traber, the Ava Helen Pauling Professor at Oregon State’s Linus Pauling Institute, conducts research that focuses on the function of vitamin E in human health. She has developed ways to evaluate vitamin E status in people using stable isotopes and her work has shed light on key mechanisms for the regulation of vitamin E bioavailability, transport and antioxidant activity.

Discovered in 1922, vitamin E is required for preventing fetal reabsorption during pregnancy, though how this process works is not completely known. Traber’s work aims to clarify how vitamin E is metabolized, the impact of deficiency and adverse effects of excess vitamin E.

Traber developed, in collaboration with the Robyn Tanguay group at OSU’s Sinnhuber Aquatic Research Laboratory, a vitamin E deficient zebrafish embryo model that showed vitamin E is critical for forming the brain and spinal cord.

She has also come up with novel ways to measure absorption, pharmacokinetics and bioavailability of vitamin E in humans using mass spectrometry.

Traber, regarded as a global expert on the vitamin, has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers and more than 100 book chapters and invited reviews. Earlier this year, she was named a fellow by the American Society for Nutrition Foundation.

Traber was a member of the National Academy of Science Institute of Medicine panel that published the daily recommended intake report in 2000 on vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and the carotenoids, is on the editorial board of the Journal of Nutrition and has been a principal investigator on various National Institutes of Health and U.S. Department of Agriculture-sponsored research projects.

She received undergraduate and graduate degrees in nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley, and has been at OSU since 1998.