February 6, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Nutrition scientist and professor
Connie Weaver will receive Purdue University’s 2012 Spirit of the Land-Grant
Mission Award for improving nutrition recommendations for children, adolescents
and adults nationwide through her research in calcium absorption and bone
The award is presented yearly to a Purdue faculty member
in the Colleges of Agriculture, Health and Human Sciences or Veterinary
Medicine whose work exemplifies the university’s land-grant mission of
discovery, engagement and learning.
Much of Weaver’s work with children and adolescents takes
place at Camp Calcium, a six-week camp designed to measure calcium absorption
and use in children and younger teenagers. The camp, held annually for the last
22 years, gives adolescents a chance to explore careers and take science and
math classes in a college environment while researchers control their diets and
measure the amount of calcium their bodies absorb.
“The award reflects excellence in research, teaching
and engagement, and Connie demonstrates this excellence in a way that very few
have,” said Karen Plaut, director of agricultural research and associate
dean of Purdue Agriculture. “Connie embodies the spirit of the whole
award, particularly in the area of engagement. She truly has an attitude of
‘let’s take that research out and get it to the public.’ She has greatly
impacted the lives of children – and adults, too – through her work with Camp
Weaver has brought her knowledge to a variety of national
boards and organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences Food and
Nutrition Board Panel, where she helped develop government standards for the
amount of calcium that adolescents should consume to optimize bone strength and
prevent osteoporosis. Her recommendations were used to develop the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s My Plate dietary guidelines.
Conducting research with the purpose of informing the
public of the results is a hallmark of Weaver’s research and Extension program,
said Jim Mintert, interim director of Purdue Extension.
“Dr. Weaver provides a great example of how a
land-grant university faculty member can truly help improve the lives of
people, not only in Indiana but throughout the world,” he said. “The
impact of her work will be felt for very many years to come as it’s reflected
in improved bone health and reductions in osteoporotic fractures as our
At Purdue, Weaver heads the Department of Nutrition
Science in the College of Health and Human Sciences. She leads the new Women’s
Global Health Institute in Discovery Park and serves as deputy director of the
Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. She previously won the university’s
highest research honor, the Herbert Newby McCoy Award.
A program honoring Weaver will be held at 3 p.m. EST Feb.
18 in Pfendler Hall’s Deans Auditorium on the Purdue campus. Weaver will
present a seminar titled “Translating Science from the Bench to the
Dietary Guidelines,” followed by the award presentation and refreshments.
Weaver will receive a commemorative plaque, $10,000 to
support her research and a $1,500 honorarium.
Writer: Jessica Merzdorf,
765-494-8402, [email protected]
Plaut, 765-494-8362, [email protected]
Jim Mintert, 765-494-8491, [email protected]