Emily Groff
In College of Human Ecology, Division of Nutritional Sciences

The Journal of Nutrition (JN) has announced the creation of Malden Nesheim Nutrition Landscape Award, developed in partnership with Cornell Human Ecology in honor of nutrition researcher and academic leader Malden “Mal” Nesheim, Ph.D. ’59. The award will recognize authors who publish a critical review or perspective on an emerging or significant topic impacting the field. 

“Mal is a globally recognized legend in nutrition science, and top-quality reviews are invaluable to JN readers, in particular junior scholars,” said Xingen Lei, professor of animal science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, jointly appointed in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, and the new editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nutrition. “JN is thrilled and privileged to launch this new award in promoting such publications under Mal’s legacy.”

Nesheim’s wide-ranging impact on the field of nutrition includes his research on animal nutrition and the health impact of parasitic worm infections, influence on US nutrition policy and dietary guidelines, and advocacy of nutrition science as an interdisciplinary means to investigate the relationship between food and human health. 

He first came to Cornell in 1956 to pursue a Ph.D. in animal nutrition. After completing his doctorate in 1959, he stayed on as assistant professor in the Poultry Science Department and in the Graduate School of Nutrition. 

In 1974, Nesheim was named the first director of the newly formed Division of Nutritional Sciences, which combined the human nutrition and food program in the College of Human Ecology with the Graduate School of Nutrition. Under his directorship, the division became recognized as a premier research, teaching, and public-service program for human nutrition in the United States. In 1987, Nesheim was appointed Cornell’s vice provost for planning and budgeting, and in 1989, he was named university provost. 

Beyond his research and academic service, Nesheim committed himself to public service. He served as president of the American Institute of Nutrition and on the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board, which wrote the 10th edition of Recommended Dietary Allowances. He also served on numerous advisory committees for federal agencies and chaired the 1990 US Dietary Guidelines Committee. In New York, he was responsible for initiating a statewide K-12 educational program in nutrition and a surveillance program to monitor the nutritional well-being of the public. 

After he retired from Cornell in 1997, Nesheim was appointed by President Bill Clinton to chair a Commission on Dietary Supplements. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995 and elected a fellow of the American Society of Nutritional Sciences in 1997.

In a recent editorial in the Journal of Nutrition, Nesheim reflects on his career and his enduring relationship with the publication, which spans 65 years of its 95-year history. Lei’s editorial in the same issue announces the award, which will first be given in 2025 for an article published in 2024. Visit the American Society for Nutrition website to learn more.