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Sharon M. Donovan, a professor of nutrition and the Melissa M. Noel Endowed Chair in Nutrition and Health at the University of Illinois, was elected today, October 16, to the National Academy of Medicine.

Considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine, induction into NAM recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service. 

University of Illinois food science and human nutrition professor Sharon Donovan, center, is among 70 new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
University of Illinois food science and human nutrition professor Sharon Donovan, center, is among 70 new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine.

Donovan is among 70 new members and 10 new international members announced by the academy. With the additions announced today, NAM has 1,812 active members and 151 international members.

“Being inducted into NAM is an incredible honor that very few people achieve,” said Kim Kidwell, the dean of the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. “Sharon Donovan embodies the spirit of this honor through the incredible contributions she has made to advancing our understanding of digestive tract and brain development, childhood obesity and autism. Sharon’s work helps people throughout the world to live better lives. I am thrilled that she has been acknowledged for her contribution in this way and am very proud that she is a member of the ACES family.”

A registered dietitian, Donovan and her group conduct basic and translational research in pediatric nutrition, focusing on three areas: optimal intestinal development of neonates, prevention of childhood obesity and determinants of picky eating in 2- to 5-year-old children.

Donovan also is principal investigator with the Illinois Transdisciplinary Obesity Prevention Program; an affiliate with the IGB; and an adjunct professor of pediatrics at the U. of I. at Chicago College of Medicine.

Her work has garnered numerous honors, including awards from the International Life Sciences Institute North America and the American Society for Nutrition. She is an active member of the American Society for Nutrition, serving as that organization’s president from 2011 to 2012, and currently is present-elect of the International Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation.

Donovan earned a bachelor of science degree in nutrition science and a doctorate in nutrition from the University of California, Davis. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Stanford University School of Medicine, she joined the U. of I. faculty in 1991. She served as the director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program at Illinois from 1999-2009.

Established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, NAM is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine, and the natural, social and behavioral sciences. The academy works to address critical issues in health, medicine and related policy and to inspire positive action across sectors.

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Microbiome Metabolic Engineering
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Sharita Forrest
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