Medical Nutrition Council Chair Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton Discusses the Upcoming ASN Conference “Advances and Controversies in Clinical Nutrition”
Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton is a long-time ASN member with a passion
for clinical nutrition and research. It is this passion that
drove her to become a member, and now chair, of ASN's Medical
Nutrition Council (MNC). She is also a distinguished member of the
nutrition faculty at Penn State's College of Health and Human
Development. Throughout her time with ASN, Dr. Kris-Etherton
has relished the opportunities the organization provides to
interact with her fellow investigators. “It is such a joy,”
she says. “We are just able to talk science and focus on new
Now, Dr. Kris-Etherton and the MNC are planning an event that will
provide an excellent opportunity to “talk science” for ASN members
as well as potential members and health professionals, and possibly
the general public. That event is the upcoming Conference held by
the MNC “Advances and Controversies in Clinical Nutrition”, which
will be held in San Francisco on February 25-27, 2011. Dr.
Kris-Etherton was kind enough to talk with us a bit about the event
and what participants have to look forward to.
Interviewer: How did the
“advances and controversies” idea for the clinical conference come
about? What issue or need do you hope it will address?
Dr. Kris-Etherton: ASN had
discussed having more conferences for our members for quite some
time. We thought that the topic of controversies in clinical
nutrition would be of particular interest to many of our members.
There are so many different controversies in nutrition. So rather
than trying to focus on one side of a specific topic, like obesity,
this is a topic that allows us to cover a lot of different areas.
As for what need it will address, I hope it will help people
understand both sides of a particular position, which is always
Interviewer: What should
potential participants expect from the meeting? How will the
experience compare to ASN's Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting
at Experimental Biology that many of them have attended
Experimental Biology is an enormous meeting. Advances and
Controversies in Clinical Nutrition, on the other hand, will be a
bit smaller with great focus on the topic of controversies. For
example, they may hear a talk at EB on the benefits of sodium
reduction, but they may not hear the other side of the story. This
is an opportunity to get a good understanding of some of the
controversial areas of nutrition and hear both sides.
Interviewer: Tell us a bit
about the topics set for the meeting. What topics do you think will
be most interesting to ASN's membership?
Dr. Kris-Etherton: The
purpose of this conference is to address hot topics in clinical
nutrition including dietary supplements, obesity, diet and disease,
and nutrition, diet and aging. I am very excited about the entire
symposium but I think the talks on the Microbiome and Brain
Nutrient Sensing and Disease are particularly exciting because the
science is new and potentially very important. Some
scientists believe that the bacteria in the GI tract play an
important role in many chronic diseases, especially obesity.
In addition, brain nutrient sensing is exciting from the
perspective of addictive behaviors related to nutrition (e.g.,
sugar and fat addictions).
Interviewer: Similarly, who
are some of the speakers that the MNC would like to highlight for
the membership as they make the decision to attend the
Dr. Kris-Etherton: We are
certainly excited for all of our speakers. I think some of the
biggest sessions to look forward to will be Rob Russell and Paul
Coates discussing the topic of supplements; Susan Roberts talk, “Is
a Calorie a Calorie?”; Ed Saltzman and Bob Kushner will discuss
Nutrition Management of the Geriatric Patient; and Tom Zeigler will
speak on Feeding the Hospitalized or Institutionalized
Interviewer: I noticed the
call for abstracts has been issued. Are you expecting abstracts
from some of ASN's student members, and what advice would you have
for those of them who might be preparing these abstracts for the
Dr. Kris-Etherton: We want
to encourage student members and postdocs, of course, to submit
their work as well as established investigators. Certainly, some of
our younger members interested in submitting should speak to their
advisor and get some help there. They should also work with more
experienced members of their lab and review abstracts that have
been submitted to EB. Most importantly, they should make sure they
take the time to put together a strong abstract.