May Conference

Purdue Nutrition Science Impacting Health

May 5, 2016

Gut microbiota have been implicated in the development of metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.  Emerging research suggests that gut microbiota can be altered to positively influence health and disease outcomes. Purdue faculty Cindy Nakatsu and Connie Weaver, with Nutrition Science alumna Lisa Spence, will discuss the health implications of the gut microbiome and prebiotics. Their presentations will also examine the role of prebiotics in overall health and specifically in bone health, obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Additionally, Purdue alumna and faculty who are leaders in academia, research, sports dietetics and government policy, will showcase their perspective on influencing health. April Mason, though now in academic administration, will speak on her continuing work in food security; Carol Boushey will share how diet quality can impact outcomes of chronic disease.  Lauren Link will discuss the key role of sports dietitians in managing the nutritional needs of casual versus elite athletes and TusaRebecca Schap will highlight federal resources for impacting health. The day will close with a talk that addresses the sensationalist messages frequently surrounding food and nutrition topics.  Mary Lee Chin will provide some useful strategies for effective communication that goes beyond the hype and cultivates consumer engagement and trust.

Come explore a range of topics that will be useful to you, irrespective of your practice setting.  Whether you are coming for cutting-edge nutrition information or the opportunity to network with faculty and renew professional friendships, this is a not-to-miss conference!

Our goal is to always provide you with new content and ideas to integrate with your existing knowledge base.  In addition to the outstanding presentations above, we are planning a poster session that will cover a broad range of research topics.  We look forward to strengthening our connection, as faculty and staff from the Department of Nutrition Science, with you and provide an opportunity for you to network with other nutrition professionals.

This conference will be held in Pfendler Hall on May 5th. .  Please register at  The Department of Nutrition Science is a CPE Accredited Provider for the Commission on Dietetic Registration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  This conference will provide 6 CPEUs for those who attend all presentations and spend one hour reviewing posters.

In conjunction with our 110th Anniversary of Nutrition at Purdue University Gala, which will be held on May 6th.  You are most welcome to attend both events.  More information about the Gala and related events are available at

Featured Speakers

Connie Weaver, PhD – Distinguished Professor, Department Head of Nutrition Science at Purdue.  She is Director of the Purdue Global Women’s Health Institute, a member of the NIH Institutes of Medicine and was a member of the USDA/HHS advisory committee which produced the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.  She is a nationally known figure in calcium research and is engaging in novel research on bioactives and their role in bone health.

April Mason, PhD – Dr. Mason is the Provost, Senior Vice President and Professor in the Department of Nutrition at Kansas State University. She received her Masters of Science (Plant physiology) and Doctoral (Foods & Nutrition) degrees from Purdue University. She was also a Professor of Foods and Nutrition and Associate Dean for Extension, Discovery and Engagement at Purdue University.  Her research interests are in availability of key nutrients from plant based food products, and food security.

Carol Boushey, PhD, RD – Dr. Boushey is an Associate Research Professor at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center in Manoa. She is also an Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. Dr. Boushey is an internationally recognized expert of innovative dietary assessment methods for use in epidemiologic and clinical studies.

Lauren Link, RD, CSSD – Ms. Link is a graduate of the Coordinated Program in Dietetics and Nutrition Fitness and Health from the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. She is a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics and is the Director of Sports Nutrition at Purdue University.

TusaRebecca Schap, PhD, RD - Dr. TusaRebecca Schap graduated from the Purdue University Coordinated Program in Dietetics in 2005 and received her PhD through the Interdepartmental Nutrition Program at Purdue University in 2012. Dr. Schap was a Clinical and Translational Science Institute predoctoral trainee, and completed her post-doctoral training in the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Schap is now the Lead Nutritionist for the Nutrition and Economic Analysis Team at the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Cindy Nakatsu, PhD – Dr. Nakatsu is a Professor of Agronomy at Purdue University with expertise in molecular microbial ecology. Her research is focused towards gaining a greater understanding of the diversity of microbial communities and the genetic mechanisms used by bacteria to adapt to their environment.  Molecular genetics, traditional microbiology and ecology experiments are used in her research program.

Lisa Spence, PhD, RD – Dr. Lisa Spence graduated with Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in Nutrition Science and completed the Coordinated Program in Dietetics from Purdue University. She is a Principal Scientist at Tate & Lyle in Global Nutrition, where she is not only responsible for preclinical and clinical trials on the company’s ingredients but also dissemination of scientific research information to various audiences including health professionals using various communication tools and activities such as science based brochures, a website, and educational sessions/webinars, etc.

Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD – Ms. Chin is a regularly sought after media consultant on issues of food and nutrition trends. She received her undergraduate degree in Foods and Nutrition from Purdue University, a Master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University and completed her Dietetic Internship at the Cleveland Veteran’s Administration Hospital.


8:30     Registration and Continental Breakfast


8:50     Welcome

           Connie Weaver, PhD – Distinguished Professor & Head, Nutrition Science


9:00     Continuing Food Security Work-even as an administrator April Mason, PhD


9:30     Diet quality and chronic disease outcomes

           Carol Boushey, PhD, RD


10:00   Break


10:20   Nutrition for casual vs elite athletes

           Lauren Link, RD, CSSD


10:50   Federal resources for impacting health

           TusaRebecca Schap, PhD, RD


11:20   Panel Discussion


11:50   Preceptor Appreciation


12:00   Lunch & Poster Session


1:00     Gut microbiome, prebiotics and health implications

           Cindy Nakatsu, PhD


1:30     Prebiotics and obesity/metabolic syndrome

            Lisa Spence, PhD, RD


2:00     Prebiotics and bone health

           Connie Weaver, PhD


2:30     Panel discussion


3:00     Movement and beverage break


3:20     How to go behind the provocative headlines when food and facts collide?

           Mary Lee Chin, MS, RD


3:50     Wrap-Up & Adjourn



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