The 17th Annual Thornton-Massa Lecture Series

Dr. Michael A. Grusak

Feeding the World with Healthful Food Crops
The lecture, which took place on Sunday, November 13, 2016, was a huge success and the university so enjoyed have Dr. Grusak here to share with us!
Watch the Lecture Here:


grusak-2014-croppedDr. Mike Grusak is a Plant Physiologist at the USDA-ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Houston, TX and a Professor of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine.  He joined the Center in 1990 to develop an interdisciplinary program that would link plant science and production agriculture with human nutrition concerns.  His main research involves understanding how mineral nutrients are acquired from soil and transported throughout the plant, in order to use this information to enhance the nutritional quality of plant foods for human consumption.  His group works with a diverse array of species and germplasm, including staple food crops like bean, rice, wheat, and cassava, with a focus on the micronutrient minerals, iron and zinc.  These minerals tend to be lacking in the diets of many developing world populations, and thus the research is helping to develop food-based approaches to reduce micronutrient deficiencies and improve human health within these populations.  His group also has studied various health-beneficial classes of phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids and he uses in vitro cell culture methods and clinical investigations to study phytonutrient bioavailability and metabolism in humans.  His group has developed labeling techniques to incorporate various stable isotopes of different elements into plant foods, to provide unique tools for these clinical studies.

Dr. Grusak’s research has been funded by USDA, NSF, NIH, the US Agency for International Development, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Dr. Grusak has organized and/or served on the Scientific Advisory Committees of several International Symposia.  He currently serves on the Editorial Boards of the journals: Plant and Soil, Crop Science, Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, Rice Journal, and The Plant Genome.  He is the 2016 President of the Crop Science Society of America, a member of the Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Science, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  He also has served as the Scientific Officer for the Office of Scientific Quality Review, which conducts peer review of all USDA-ARS research projects, and recently was an Acting National Program Leader for Specialty Crops in the USDA-ARS Office of National Programs.  His educational background includes a BS in Biology from Bates College (Lewiston, ME), an MS and PhD in Botany from the University of California-Davis, and post-doctoral training in New Zealand, France, and Ithaca, NY.


Watch for dates and speaker information for our next event in Fall 2017!

The Lory Student Center Theatre is located on the 200 Level of the Lory Student Center. Click here for more information on the location of the theatre.

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