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Jere

Haas

Professor Emeritus
213 Savage Hall
Ithaca, New York
Division of Nutritional Sciences

Biography

Jere D. Haas is the Nancy Schlegel Meinig Professor Emeritus of Maternal and Child Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, College of Human Ecology, at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York. He is also International Professor of Nutrition in Cornell's College of Agriculture and Life Science, and Professor of the Graduate School. He received his Ph.D. in Biological Anthropology from the Pennsylvania State University and has been on the Cornell University faculty for 43 years. He is currently conducting research on the functional consequences of iron deficiency on physical and cognitive performance. The emphasis is on the effects of moderate iron deficiency on various aspects of physical performance and behavior in children and young women and how measures of performance relate to everyday productivity and social and economic well being. He also conducts research on food based interventions to reduce micronutrient malnutrition. Professor Haas conducts research on these and related topics in maternal and child nutrition in the United States, Mexico, the Philippines, Rwanda and India. Professor Haas served as vice-president and president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and serves on the Expert Advisory Panel for Nutrition of the World Health Organization and the Technical Advisory Group on Food and Nutrition of the Pan American Health Organization. He served as Director of the Division of Nutritional Science at Cornell from 1998 to 2003.

My research deals with nutrition problems of women and young children, with a primary emphasis on iron deficiency and protein and energy under nutrition in developing countries. For 40 years my research has focused on understanding the functional consequences of malnutrition on physical performance, physical activity and behavior. Current studies are designed to identify useful functional indicators that can be used to evaluate nutrition interventions that are designed to improve iron status in women and children.

We are currently examining two novel approaches to improving dietary iron intakes by enhancing the nutrient quality of staple food crops such as rice, pearl millet and beans and through the fortification of table salt. These staple foods and table salt are consumed by a large number of the most nutritionally vulnerable population groups in Asia, Africa and Latin America. In collaboration with colleagues from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the University of the Philippines at Los Banos and the Pennsylvania State University we have shown an improvement in body iron status in women who consumed an experimental variety of rice bred for high iron content. This research was the first to show that “biofortification" strategies can improve the micronutrient status of human subjects at risk of deficiencies in developing countries. 

 

We are analyzing data and writing up the results of a recently completed  "feeding trial" of another biofortified staple, black beans, in school children in southern Mexico. Early results from this study indicate that primary school children who consume the biofortified beans for 100 days show improved tissue level iron status (transferring receptor values declined) compared to controls. This effect is most apparent in children who were the most iron deficient at baseline and were not exposed to infections during the feeding period.  The research is being conducted in collaboration with scientist at the Mexican National Institute of Public Health (INSP), HarvestPlus Project of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia.

We concluded the field work for another feeding trial of iron-biofortified pearl millet in  secondary school children attending a boarding school in rural India.  After 4 months of consuming the iron-biofortified pearl millet, we found significant improvements in all measures of iron status when compared to subjects who consumed commercially available pearl millet.  We are also studying the effect of improved iron status on physical performance, physical activity and neuro-cognitive function in the adolescents in collaboration with scientists from the S.N.D.T. Women's University in Mumbai, the University of Oklahoma and the Pennsylvania State University. 

 

Another feeding trial with biofortified beans, supported by HarvestPlus, was completed in 2013 in Rwanda through collaboration with scientists at the University of Rwanda at Huye,  the University of Oklahoma and the Pennsylvania State University. This 4 months-long feeding study tested the efficacy of consuming iron-biofortified beans on improved iron status, physical performance and neuro-cognitive function  in university women.  Other collaborators included the the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia.

We have also recently completed a study that tested the effectiveness of consuming table salt (DFS) that is double fortified with iodine and encapsulated iron in India through a program administered by the Micronutrient Initiative of Canada. Published  results from this year long intervention trial have shown significant improvements in all measures of iron status in women who consumed DFS compared to controls. This project is also testing whether consumption of double fortified salt improves worker productivity, physical activity and cognitive function in women who pick tea on Indian tea estates in north Bengal.

 

DellaValle, D.M. and J.D. Haas. 2014. Iron supplementation improves energetic efficiency in iron depleted female rowers. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 46(6):1204-15.

 

Haas, J.D., M. Rahn, S. Venkatramanan, G.S. Marquis, M.J. Wenger, L.E. Murray-Kolb, A.S. Wesley, and G.A. Reinhart. 2014. Double fortified salt is efficacious in improving indicators of iron deficiency in female Indian tea-pickers.  Journal of Nutrition, 144:957-964. First published online April 17, 2014; doi.org/10.3945/jn. 113.183228.

 

De Moura, F.F., A.C. Palmer, J.L. Finkelstein, J.D. Haas, L.E. Murray-Kolb, M.J. Wenger, E. Birol, E. Boy, J.P. Peña-Rosas.  2014. Are Biofortified Staple Food Crops Improving Vitamin A and Iron Status in Women and Children? New Evidence from Efficacy Trials.  Advances in Nutrition 5: 568–570; doi.org/10.3945/an.114.006627

 

Finkelstein, J.L., S. Mehta, S.A. Udipi, P. Ghugre, S.V. Luna, M.J. Wenger, L.E. Murray-Kolb, E,M. Przybyszewski and J.D Haas. 2015. A Randomized Trial of Iron-Biofortified Pearl Millet in School Children in India.  Journal of Nutrition, 145:1576-1581 doi:10.3945/jn.114.208009.

 

Haas, J.D.,  S.V. Luna, M.G. Lung'aho, M.J. Wenger, L.E. Murray-Kolb, S. Beebe, J.B. Gahutu, and I.M. Egli. 2016. Consuming Iron Biofortified Beans Increases Iron Status in Rwandan Women after 128 Days in a Randomized Controlled Feeding Trial. Journal of Nutrition 146 (8): 1586-1592.

 

Boy, E.,  J.D. Haas, N. Petry, C.I. Cercamondi, J.B. Gahutu, S. Mehta, J. Finkelstein and R.F. Hurrell. 2017.  Efficacy of Iron-Biofortified Crops. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition, and Development. 17:11879-11892. doi: 10.18697/ajfand.78.HarvestPlus03

 

Finkelstein, J.L., J.D. Haas, and S. Mehta. 2017. Iron-Biofortified Staple Food Crops for Improving Iron Status: A Review of the Current Evidence. Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 44:138–145. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.208009

 

Wenger, M.J., D.M. DellaValle, L.E. Murray-Kolb, J.D. Haas. 2017. Effect of Iron Deficiency on Simultaneous Measures of Behavior, Brain Activity, and Energy Expenditure in the Performance of a Cognitive Task.  Nutritional Neuroscience 19:1-10. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1360559.

 

Venkatramanan, S., G. Marquis, L. Neufeld, M. Wenger, L. Murray-Kolb, G. Reinhart, J. Haas. 2017. Double fortified salt intervention improved iron intake but not energy and other nutrient intakes in female tea plantation workers from West Bengal, India. Food and Nutrition Bulletin, 38:369-383. doi: 10.1177/0379572117718121

 

Huey, S.L., S. Venkatramanan, S.A Udipi, J.L.Finkelstein, P. Ghugre, J.D. Haas, V. Thakker, A. Thorat, A. Salvi, A.V. Kurpad and S. Mehta. 2017. Acceptability of Iron-Biofortified Pearl Millet (ICTP-8203) Among Children Living in an Urban Slum of Mumbai, India. Frontiers in Nutrition, Vol 4:39. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2017.00039.

 

Murray-Kolb, L.E., M.J. Wenger, S.P. Scott, S.E. Rhoten, M.G. Lung'aho, J.D. Haas. 2017. Consumption of iron-biofortified beans positively affects cognitive performance in 18 - 27 year old Rwandan female college students in an 18-week randomized controlled efficacy trial. Journal of Nutrition. 147:2109-2117. doi: 10.3945/jn.117.255356.

 

Wenger, M.J., L.E. Murray-Kolb, J.E.H. Nevins, S. Venkatramanan, G.A. Reinhart, J.D. Haas. 2017. Consumption of a Double-Fortified Salt Affects Perceptual, Attentional, and Mnemonic Functioning in Women in a Randomized Control Trial in India. Journal of Nutrition. 147:2297-2308. doi: 10.1080/1028415X.2017.1360559.

 

Pompano, L.M. and J.D. Haas. 2017. Efficacy of iron supplementation may be misinterpreted using conventional measures of iron status in iron depleted, non-anemic women undergoing aerobic exercise training.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, doi: 10.3945/ajcn.117.1527

 

Savanur, M.S., A. Sathye, A. Udwant, S.A. Udipi, P.Ghugre, J.D. Haas, E. Boy, A.Bhatnagar. 2017. Nutritional Status and Physical Fitness of Tribal Adolescents in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. Ecology of Food and Nutrition. 56: 552-566. doi: 0.1080/03670244.2017.1399370

 

Glahn, R.P., E. Tako, J. Hart, J. Haas, M. Lung'aho, S. Beebe. 2017. Iron bioavailability studies of the first generation of iron-biofortified beans released in Rwanda. Nutrients (in press).

Scott, S.P., L.E. Murray-Kolb, M.J. Wenger, S.A. Udipi, P.S. Ghugre, E. Boy, J.D. Haas. 2018.  Cognitive performance in Indian school-going adolescents is positively affected by consumption of iron-biofortified pearl millet: a 6-month randomized controlled efficacy trial. Journal of Nutrition (in press)


At Cornell University

  • The Nancy Schlegel Meinig Professor Emeritus of Maternal & Child Nutrition
  • International Professor of Nutrition, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences
  • Graduate School Professor
  • Cornell Graduate Field Memberships: Nutrition; Anthropology; Latin American Studies; Epidemiology; International Agriculture.  
  • Director, Human Biology Program. 
  • Advisory Committee, Human Metabolic Research Unit
  • Advisory Committee, Tata-Cornell Initiative on Agriculture and Nutrition 
 

 
 
 

 

National and International

  • Member, Expert Advisory Panel on Nutrition for the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • Member, Technical Advisory Group on Food and Nutrition of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)

In support of my research program, I am a mentor for 7 undergraduate students through NS 4010, Empirical Research for Undergraduates, and 4 Ph.D. students through NS 8990, Doctoral Research. I have no formal teaching obligations as emeritus professor.

  • NS 4010 Empirical Research for Undergraduates
  • NS 8990 Doctoral Research
  • A.B. Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, 1967
  • M.A. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 1970
  • Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 1973
  • Director, Human Biology Program