FCHL Senior Scientist Biographies
DAVID J. BAER
David J. Baer, Ph.D. is a Research Physiologist with the US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. The Center is part of the Agricultural Research Service, which is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s principal in-house science research agency. Dr. Baer has worked with the Department for 17 years and is currently the Chief Scientist of the Functional Foods and Health Promotion Group within the Center’s Diet and Human Performance Laboratory.
Dr. Baer conducts controlled dietary intervention studies to investigate the relationship between diet and the risk for chronic, degenerative diseases, especially cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes in people. He has also conducted studies on health impacts of weight gain and calorie content of foods. Some of the dietary interventions he has investigated include the effects of different types of fats and fatty acids, fiber, margarine, butter, plant sterols, salad dressings, tea, soy protein, and alcohol on overall nutrition and health. In addition to dietary intervention studies, Dr. Baer is involved in research studies to validate food survey methodologies and to develop new methods for dietary assessment. He is the author of numerous scientific articles and book chapters and has been invited to present his research findings nationally and internationally.
Dr. Baer earned his bachelors degree from the University of Illinois and his doctorate in nutrition from Michigan State University. Prior to joining the Department of Agriculture, he worked as a private consultant in nutrition. He is active in several professional societies and serves on the editorial board for several journals.
STEVEN J. BRITZ
Dr. Steven J. Britz, Ph.D., is a Research Plant Physiologist with the US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. The Center is part of the Agricultural Research Service, which is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s principal in-house science research agency. Dr. Britz has worked with the Department for 28 years and is currently the Lead Scientist for the Environment Effects on Phytochemicals in Food Crops Group within the Center’s Food Components and Health Laboratory.
Dr. Britz conducts both controlled environment and field studies to investigate the effects of temperature, drought, solar radiation, and atmospheric carbon dioxide on flavonoids, vitamin E, phytosterols, carotenoids and other compounds in seeds and/or leafy vegetables. His work has shown that relatively small changes in environment can have large impacts on phytochemical composition. Dr. Britz is also responsible for the intrinsic labeling of foodstuffs with 13C, a stable isotope assimilated photosynthetically via 13CO2, to track the uptake and metabolism of phytochemicals in human subjects.
After spending his formative years in Illinois, a sine qua non for his assignment to FCHL, Dr. Britz received a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and A.M and Ph.D. degrees in biology from Harvard University, where he learned to say sine qua non. He was a fellow of the Dept. of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution of Washington and a postdoctoral fellow of the Biology Dept., Yale University. In addition, he has been a visiting scientist at the Botany Inst., University of Marburg, Germany and the Inst. for Radiobiology, Research Center Juelich, Germany.
BEVERLY A. CLEVIDENCE
Beverly A. Clevidence is a Research Nutritionist with the US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. Dr. Clevidence joined the Center in 1984 and during her tenure has served as a Research Scientist and Research Leader of the Phytonutrients Laboratory and the Diet and Human Performance Laboratory. Dr. Clevidence conducts clinical research studies designed to assess the influence of diet on human health. Her early career focused on the effects of type of dietary fat of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. She now conducts studies of macronutrients and phytonutrients as they pertain to prevention of chronic disease that most affect Americans. Since joining BHNRC, she has investigated various foods and food components including dietary fats such as trans unsaturated fatty acids; the carotenoids, particularly lycopene from tomato, watermelon and autumn olive berries; and polyphenols such as anthocyanins from berries and vegetables and catechins in tea. Dr. Clevidence’s collaborative research includes studies conducted with plant scientists who, using traditional breeding methods, enrich fruits and vegetables with phytonutrients.
Dr. Clevidence earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Arkansas and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She completed postdoctoral studies at The Cleveland Clinic. She is active in professional societies and serves as a scientific advisor to food and nutrition-related organizations.
JANET A. NOVOTNY
Janet A. Novotny is a Research Physiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. Dr. Novotny joined the Center in 1993 and is currently the Director of the Mass Specrometry Unit in the Food Components and Health Lab. In 2000, Dr. Novotny received the Agriculture Research Service Early Career Scientist of the Year Award. Dr. Novotny is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Novotny’s primary research area is the bioavailability, metabolism, and health benefits of phytonutrients. Dr. Novotny conducts clinical research studies which combine technologies of staple isotopes, mass spectrometry, and compartmental modeling to assess phytonutrient absorption and to delineate pathways of metabolism in humans. Dr. Novotny also conducts clinical studies to assess the affects of phytonutrients on risk for cancer, heart disease, and inflammation. Genetic technologies are used to determine the influence of genotype on nutrient response, and transcriptomics approaches are used to identify mechanisms by which phytonutrients affect disease risk.
Dr. Novotny holds a B.S. in Mathematics, an M.S. in Nutritional Sciences, and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of Illinois. She is active in professional societies and has edited two books on Mathematical Modeling.
Food Components and Health Laboratory
USDA, ARS, BHNRC
Building 307B, Room 231
Beltsville, Maryland 20705