Dr. Robert Cousins
Dr. Cousins is the Boston Family Professor of Nutrition, Director of the Center for Nutritional Sciences, and Joint Professor of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Florida. His research has evolved from understanding the nutritional significance of zinc to elucidating how this micronutrient acts as a signaling molecule through regulated cellular transporters to produce influences on cellular function, host defense mechanisms, and specific disease including diabetes, metabolic endotoxemia and inflammatory disorders. His experiments are molecular in approach and have ranged from studies at the cellular level, with animal models including transgenic mice and controlled intake zinc restriction and supplementation studies with human subjects.
Dr. Cousins’ education includes a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Connecticut and an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Cousins academic career started at Rutgers University, first in Animal Sciences and then Nutritional Sciences. He was advanced to Professor II (Distinguished Professor). There he was Director of the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program and had governance roles in the biological sciences, university-wide. Subsequently he moved to the University of Florida for an endowed chair (Boston Family Professor of Nutrition). He led the University’s competitive effort that resulted in a Pew Charitable Trusts Center of Excellence in Nutrition Award which established the Center for Nutritional Sciences, of which he is still director.
On the national level, Dr. Cousins was elected President and Board Chair of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology (FASEB) that expanded under his watch and now constitutes 30 professional societies with over 125,000 members. He chaired/co-chaired FASEB Consensus Conferences that made influential recommendations for NIH, NSF and USDA funding and lobbied for increases in biological research funding. Subsequently he was elected President of the American Society of Nutrition, a FASEB constituent society. His professional service includes the NIH Nutrition Study Section, IOM Food and Nutrition Board, and IOM Panel on Micronutrients for Dietary Reference Intakes.
Dr. Cousins has produced hundreds of publications generated from his laboratory through efforts of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral associates, totaling over 70 trainees. He has presented named lectureships at Cornell, Michigan State, UC Davis, Rutgers, Penn State, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Maryland, Auburn and Virginia Tech.
Recognition within agriculture includes USDA Secretary’s Honor Award for Superior Service in Research, W.O. Atwater Lecturer (Agricultural Research Service, USDA), and USDA-CSRS Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP).
Professional awards include Elected Member, National Academy of Sciences; Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Dannon Institute Mentorship Award (American Society of Nutrition); Bristol-Myers Squibb/Mead Johnson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Biomedical (Nutrition) Research; American College of Nutrition Research Award; Eric J. Underwood Lectureship, Evian, France; Gamma Sigma Delta Senior Research Award, University of Florida; MERIT Award, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH); Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Connecticut; Osborne and Mendel Award and Mead Johnson Award, American Institute of Nutrition; Future Leader Grant Award, The Nutrition Foundation.