CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two Oregon State University researchers are among the group of 2021 fellows announced today by the American Society for Nutrition Foundation.

The honorees are Maret Traber of the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and Neil Shay of the College of Agricultural Sciences.

Traber, the Ava Helen Pauling Professor at OSU'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.

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.

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.

Shay, professor of food science and technology, studies the nutritional regulation of gene transcription with a focus on the impact of plant-produced chemicals on nuclear hormone receptors and other regulatory proteins. He has used cell and animal models and has helped supervise human clinical trials as well. 

Most recently, Shay’s research has focused on understanding how specific food components – for example, polyphenols from fruits such as red raspberries, cherries and grapes, and omega-three fats from walnuts – can contribute to good health and improved metabolic function. 

Shay received undergraduate and master’s degrees from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and then taught high school biology and physics for six years, later earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Florida.

Prior to coming to Oregon State, Shay was a faculty member at Florida, Notre Dame and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and also spent two years as a nutrition scientist for the Kellogg Food Company in Battle Creek, Michigan. Shay has served as a department head, organized scientific conferences, taught thousands of students, participated in grant review panels and served on the editorial board for the Journal of Nutrition and Current Developments in Nutrition. 

The class of 14 fellows also includes Helmut Sies of Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany. Sies, a pioneer in the study of carotenoids and flavonoids, is a past winner of the Linus Pauling Institute Prize for Health Research.

The 2021 fellows will be recognized at a virtual ceremony in June.

--Steve Lundeberg