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October 30, 2012

Bone health expert to present McCoy lecture on 'Chasing Calcium'

Connie Weaver

Connie Weaver
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Connie Weaver, the 2012 recipient of Purdue University's top research award, will discuss her work on calcium and bone health on Nov. 14.

Weaver, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Nutrition Science, will receive the 2012 Herbert Newby McCoy Award, the most prestigious research honor given by Purdue. Her talk, "Chasing Calcium Into Bones and Beyond," will be 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Stewart Center's Fowler Hall. The McCoy Distinguished Lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research.

"We are honoring Dr. Weaver for her work on calcium metabolism, which has transformed the way people think about calcium nutrition," said Richard Buckius, Purdue's vice president for research. "Her research focuses on adolescents' calcium needs, as related to the impact of diet, gender, race and sexual maturity on calcium utilization."

Today's calcium requirements for North America and the national recommended dietary guidelines in adolescents are based on Weaver's research findings that the optimal calcium intake is 1,300 milligrams for healthy bone mass. The talk will highlight how the Weaver Laboratory identified calcium levels for healthy bone growth during puberty to prevent osteoporosis later in life. Calcium is one of the four shortfall nutrients targeted by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee for Americans to increase.

Weaver is an expert in mineral bioavailability, calcium metabolism and bone health, and she is a member of the Institute of Medicine, which is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. She has published more than 260 research articles and trained more than 37 doctorate and 18 master's degree students.

Weaver is deputy director of the National Institutes of Health-funded Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute. In 2011 she was appointed to the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board, and in 2005 she was appointed to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and she served on the National Academy of Sciences Food and Nutrition Board Panel to develop new requirement recommendations for calcium and related minerals.

The McCoy Award, established in 1964 by Ethel Terry McCoy in memory of her husband, is presented annually to a Purdue student or faculty member for outstanding contributions to science. The winner is nominated by colleagues and selected by faculty representatives and the university president.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu

Sources: Richard Buckius, 765-494-6209, rbuckius@purdue.edu  

Connie Weaver, 765-494-8237, weavercm@purdue.edu

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Related news release: Calcium expert honored with university's top research award