CRN honors Mason, Chen for safety, efficacy research of bioactive compounds

WASHINGTON Joel Mason and Hong Chen were both honored earlier this week by the Council for Responsible Nutrition with the Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award and the Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award, respectively, during the American Society for Nutrition Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting held in conjunction with Experimental Biology 2010 in Anaheim, Calif.

The awards, jointly presented by ASN and the CRN, are given with the intent to recognize outstanding research on the safety and efficacy of bioactive compounds for human health.

“It is gratifying to partner with ASN to honor scientists for their work, and it is a particular privilege to present the 2010 Mary Swartz Rose awards to both Dr. Mason and Dr. Chen as their work is critical for further understanding the role of nutrition in colon cancer,” stated Andrew Shao, SVP scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN.

Mason, of Tufts University, first began studying how the intake of folate and other 1-carbon nutrients modulate the risk of developing cancer in the 1980s, helping turn the field of which he was a pioneer into one of the more popular fields in nutrition research. His laboratory’s clinical trials were among the first to define how folate supplementation impacts on molecular events in the colon. More recently, he has been a proponent of the "duel" effect of folate on cancer, hypothesizing that the rise in colorectal cancer rates in North America in the mid-1990’s was related to excessive amounts of folic acid in the foodstream. Mason currently serves on the Professional Education Committee of the American Society for Nutrition and the Editorial Board of the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition.

Chen, assistant professor in the department of food science and human nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana, has established herself as an important contributor to the understanding of the role of epigenetic modifications on colon cancer and prevention, as well as how they are regulated by dietary components in colon tumor cells and animal models. In the future, Chen’s current hypothesis which is under investigation could help in the understanding of soy bioactives and their effects on the epigenome and may, ultimately, aid in the development of efficacious dietary interventions for colon cancer prevention.

These awards are named in honor of the late Mary Swartz Rose (1874–1941), a founder and president of the American Institute of Nutrition (now known as ASN). The Mary Swartz Rose Senior Investigator Award is given to an investigator with 10 years or more of postgraduate training, for outstanding preclinical and/or clinical research on the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements as well as essential nutrients and other biologically active food components that might be distributed as supplements or components in functional foods. The Mary Swartz Rose Young Investigator Award is based on the same research qualifications, but is given to an investigator with 10 or less years of postgraduate training.

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