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FCHL Senior Scientist Biographies


David J. Baer, Ph.D. is a Research Physiologist with the US Department of Agriculture's HumanNutritionResearchCenter 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 MichiganStateUniversity.  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.



Janet A. Novotny is a Research Physiologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's HumanNutritionResearchCenter 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 JohnsHopkinsUniversity.        


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
Building 307B, Room 231
Beltsville, Maryland 20705