Texas Tech University

Obesity Research Institute's Founding Director Honored by American Society for Nutrition

Glenys Young

August 19, 2020


Naïma Moustaïd-Moussa recently received two prestigious recognitions by her peers.

Naïma Moustaïd-Moussa, founding director of Texas Tech University's Obesity Research Institute, recently received two prestigious honors from the American Society for Nutrition (ASN).

Moustaïd-Moussa, the Presidential Excellence in Research Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and director of the Nutrigenomics, Inflammation & Obesity Research (NIOR) Laboratory, has been elected as a member of the ASN Board of Directors and given the 2020 Korean Nutrition Society (KNS) Award, sponsored by the ASN.

ASN directors serve as a board liaison to approximately five ASN scientific disciplines. Moustaïd-Moussa will serve as a Director-At-Large, representing nutrition science mechanisms for a two-year term running through June 30, 2022.

"It is a true honor and privilege to continue serving ASN and the nutrition community," Moustaïd-Moussa said. "I have been an active member of ASN for more than 26 years and served in various roles, including as the chair of the nutrient-gene interactions Research Interest Section and a member of the Scientific & Education Programs Oversight Committee, the ASN's Nutritional Sciences Council's Governing Committee and the Nutrition 2020 Program committee.

"I am honored to be elected by ASN members to serve alongside top nutrition science leaders in the ASN Board of Directors and support ASN mission and vision: to build a healthier world through evidence-based nutrition. I look forward to making significant contributions to our premier society that is a global leader in nutrition through excellence in nutrition research, education, policy and practice."

The KNS Award was established by the American and Korean nutrition societies in 2010 to improve their understanding and cooperation in matters of common interest and concern. It promotes excellence in nutrition research conducted by a North American scientist who is an ASN member and engages with KNS, Korea or related collaborators or studies.

Moustaïd-Moussa has had several long-term collaborations with Korean and Korean American scientists. She has been an invited speaker at the scientific conferences of the KNS and the Korean Society for Food Science and Nutrition. Last fall, she was among a dozen distinguished scientists from South Korea and the U.S. invited by the Korean Academy of Science and Technology to participate and present in the 20th Frontier Scientists Workshop on "Bioactive Compounds, Nanoparticles & Disease Prevention."

"I am very grateful to my peers who nominated me for the KNS Award," Moustaïd-Moussa said. "These ongoing collaborations, along with our internationally recognized research program and expertise in nutrition and obesity, led to these prestigious recognitions. I am gratified and humbled by this honor from my nutrition peers, and I am very eager to continue my commitment to better nutrition and health through research and education."

Moustaïd-Moussa's recognition by a professional, international society of her peers highlights the importance of nutrition and obesity research and training done at Texas Tech and the university's contribution at the national and global levels.

"Dr. Moustaïd-Moussa has made a substantial impact to our Nutritional Sciences department and to obesity research throughout the campus," said Tim Dodd, dean of the College of Human Sciences. "She also has partnered with people from around the world in this critical health crisis facing society, and this appointment speaks to her ability to make important connections. She has brought recognition to the College of Human Sciences' efforts to expand our basic science focus and help grow our graduate student and postdoctoral programs. We are very proud of Dr. Moustaïd-Moussa and look forward to her continued success."

Moustaïd-Moussa received her doctorate from the University of Paris and postdoctoral training at the Harvard School of Public Health. She joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee in 1993 and served as co-director of the university's Obesity Research Center. She was recruited to Texas Tech in 2012 as a senior strategic hire in the College of Human Sciences.

In 2013, she founded the Obesity Research Cluster, now an institute. Her research focuses on fat cell biology, the role of fat cell inflammation in metabolic disorders and the link between obesity and other chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer. Her lab investigates the mechanisms by which food and plant components reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, common metabolic dysfunctions in chronic diseases.