Dr. Tom Brenna Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Nutrition Research

Dr. Tom Brenna received the 2017 Osborne and Mendel Award for outstanding contributions to basic research in nutrition from the American Society for Nutrition.

Seafood Nutrition Partnership would like to congratulate and recognize its Board Member, Dr. Tom Brenna, for receiving the 2017 Osborne and Mendel Award for outstanding contributions to basic research in nutrition on Sunday, April 23, 2017, from the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). The award is given in Memory of T.B. Osborne, PhD (1859-1929) and L.B. Mendel, PhD (1872-1935). The American Society for Nutrition’s Awards Program is administered through the ASN Foundation. These awards were presented at the 81st Scientific Sessions at Experimental Biology 2017 in Chicago.

Dr. Brenna is the fourth scientist to be honored with both ASN’s Osborne and Mendel Award for outstanding contributions to basic research in nutrition and the ASN’s Robert Herman Memorial Award for advancement of clinical nutrition (2013).

His research team’s basic research into the chemical, biochemical, metabolic, genetic and ecological aspects of fatty acids have had a decisive influence on modern knowledge of these key nutrients. Because of his group’s work we now understand to a greater degree the role of omega-3s and polyunsaturated fats in human development for moms and babies in a detailed way. Their work has contributed to an understanding of the underlying blueprint at the genetic and molecular level of human health and omega-3s, and provides the scientific foundation that supports reliable advice for seafood nutrition and human health.

His current research activities are concerned with three areas: requirements for polyunsaturated and branched chain fatty acids especially in the perinatal period, development of advanced analytical chemical instrumentation particularly mass spectrometry for biomedical applications, and development of high precision isotope ratio mass spectrometry for anti-doping applications. Dr. Brenna’s polyunsaturated fatty acid work focuses on factors that influence demand for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. His team is focused on brain and associated organ development, and on branched chain fatty acids in human nutrition.

Dr. Brenna chairs the SNP Scientific & Nutrition Advisory Council and is hosting the State of the Science Symposium on Sept. 20 in Washington, D.C., bringing together more than a dozen top researchers to provide the latest information on seafood nutrition science.

Dr. Brenna was appointed in 2017 as professor of pediatrics and of chemistry at the Dell Medical School of the University of Texas at Austin, after 27 years as a professor of human nutrition, of chemistry, and of food science at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.


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