Scientific Advisory Committee
Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD
Illinois Institute of Technology
Britt Burton-Freeman, Ph.D. is the Director of Nutrition and Health Promoting Foods platform leader at the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Illinois Institute of Technology. Dr. Freeman has been involved in obesity and metabolic disease research for over 15 years, including basic science and clinical research in academic, biotechnology and drug development settings.
Dr. Freeman’s current research interests are in mitigating disease process through dietary approaches focused on the health promoting properties of whole foods. Specific disease targets are vascular disease and obesity, including food intake regulation. In her current appointment, she leads a public health initiative with FDA/CFSAN to develop and provide underpinning science for comprehensive approaches using innovative processing solutions to support the availability of safe food with health opportunities.
Dr. Freeman is an active member of multiple professional societies dedicated to health and disease abatement including the American Society for Nutrition, the Obesity Society and the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior. Dr. Freeman earned a M.S. and Ph.D. in Nutrition Science with an emphasis in Endocrinology and Physiological Chemistry at the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Howard D. Sesso, ScD, MPH, FAHA
Harvard and Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Dr. Howard D. Sesso is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and serves as Director of Nutrition Research and Co-Director of Hypertension Research. He is also an Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Sesso specializes in the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular disease and major risk factors including hypertension and obesity. His research also focuses on dietary factors such as vitamin and mineral supplements, lycopene, and flavonoids, plus the role of nutritional biomarkers. He is also interested in the role of diet and lifestyle in the prevention of cancer. Dr. Sesso is also an expert in the design, methodology, and conduct of epidemiologic studies and randomized clinical trials. He leads the Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) II, a trial that tested vitamin supplements, including a multivitamin, on cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases in 14,641 men with more than a decade of follow-up. Dr. Sesso is also testing the effects of vitamin D and fish oil supplements on ambulatory blood pressure and the risk of developing hypertension in an ancillary study from the VITamin D and OmegA-3 TriaL (VITAL) trial. Finally, he is Co-Principal Investigator of the COcoa Supplement and Multivitamin Outcomes Study (COSMOS), a randomized trial that will test cocoa flavanol and multivitamin supplements in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer in 18,000 women and men. Dr. Sesso has published more than 200 papers to date, and especially enjoys teaching and mentoring new investigators.
Sharon Palmer, RDN
The Plant-Powered Dietitian™
Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian™, is an award-winning food and nutrition expert, journalist, and editor. She is author of The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Health, Beginning Today (The Experiment, 2012) andPlant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps & 125 Delicious Recipes (The Experiment, 2014). Over 850 of her articles have been published in national publications, includingPrevention, Better Homes and Gardens and Yoga Journal. Sharon also is editor of Environmental Nutrition, nutrition editor of Today’s Dietitian, blogger for The Plant-Powered Blog, and publisher of her monthly The Plant-Powered Newsletter. Her specific expertise is in plant-based nutrition, including flexitarian, vegetarian and vegan diets. She serves as the consultant dietitian for the Oldways Vegetarian Network, an editor for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic’s website eatright.org, and judge for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Journalism Awards. Sharon is regularly invited to speak on food and nutrition at a number of events across the country. She is passionate about sharing her enthusiasm for sustainable, delicious, healthy food. Living in the chaparral hills overlooking Los Angeles with her husband and two sons, Sharon enjoys visiting her local farmers market, gardening, and cooking for friends and family.
Dr. Chor San Khoo, PhD
Senior Science Fellow
International Life Sciences Institute
Dr Khoo obtained a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from University of Oregon, and a PhD in Nutrition Science from Iowa State University, with minors in Biochemistry and Physiology . She completed her post- doctoral research training at the University of California, Davis. Dr Khoo is currently Senior Science Fellow at the International Life Sciences Institute in Washington DC. Prior to this she was the Vice President of Global Research and Health at the Campbell Soup Company.
Dr. Idamarie Laquatra, PhD, RD, LDN
Assistant Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Idamarie Laquatra earned her graduate degrees in nutrition from The Pennsylvania State University. A licensed registered dietitian, Dr. Laquatra has experience in the clinical, academic and business fields. Prior to earning her advanced degrees, Dr. Laquatra worked as a clinical dietitian in the hospital and nursing home settings. After completing her PhD at Penn State, she became a postdoctoral fellow in Preventive Cardiology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In addition to her postdoctoral studies, she served as adjunct faculty at Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, New Jersey. Her food industry experience began at the H.J. Heinz Company in 1984, where she was employed as Nutritionist for Heinz USA and then Manager of Nutrition for Weight Watchers Food Company. She joined Diet Center, Inc. in 1992 as Vice President of Scientific Affairs and Training. In 1995, Dr. Laquatra began her nutrition consulting business, contracting with clients in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. She rejoined the H.J. Heinz Company as Director, Global Nutrition in 2005, and served in that role until 2013. In 2012, she was awarded the Chairman’s Award for Integrity.
Dr. Laquatra is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). She served as President of the Pittsburgh Dietetic Association and was elected Pennsylvania Delegate to AND. She has been the recipient of awards and honors from the dietetics profession including the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Outstanding Dietitian of Pennsylvania Award and the Medallion Award from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Dr. Laquatra served on the board of directors of Penn State’s College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society. She is past president of the Penn State Nutrition and Dietetics Alumni Society, and received the Outstanding Nutrition Alumni Award from this group. In 2010, she was honored with the Penn State Alumni Association’s Alumni Fellow Award.
Dr. Laquatra’s areas of interest include nutrition counseling and food insecurity. She currently teaches courses in nutrition counseling, community nutrition, and foods.
Dr. David Heber, PhD
Chief, Clinical Nutrition
Director, Nutritional Medicine and Obesity
Professor, Department of Medicine
Member, JCCC Healthy and At-Risk Populations Program Area
Center for Metabolic Disease Prevention
David Heber is an internist, endocrinologist, and a physician nutrition specialist who has been on the School of Medicine and Public Health faculties since 1983 when he founded the Division of Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Medicine. In 1996, he established the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. Dr. Heber earned his M.D. at Harvard Medical School in 1973 and his Ph.D. at UCLA in 1978. He completed his internship at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and his internal medicine residency and endocrinology fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. From 1978 to 1983, he was the Associate Director of the Harbor General Hospital NIH-funded General Clinical Research Center prior to coming to UCLA where he was both Associate Director of the Center for Health Enhancement of the UCLA Medical Center and the first Chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition.