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Dietary Supplements: What Do You Know? What Should You Know?

Paul M. Coates, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Dietary Supplements
National Institutes of Health


Tuesday, October 5, 2004 • 7 pm
Masur Auditorium • NIH Clinical Center
Photo of Paul M. Coates

Paul M. Coates, Ph.D., was appointed director of the Office of Dietary Supplements at NIH in 1999. He previously served from 1996 to 1999 as deputy director of DNRC (the Division of Nutrition Research Coordination) at NIDDK (the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases). In that role, Dr. Coates helped to coordinate human nutrition research efforts, both at NIH and between NIH and other government agencies.

Among these efforts was Healthy People 2010, the initiative from the U.S. HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) to set public health goals for the nation. Dr. Coates co-led the development of the Nutrition/Overweight chapter, for which he received the NIH Director's Award for outstanding activities. Dr. Coates then was co-chair of the joint HHS/USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Steering Committee that oversaw plans for the National Nutrition Summit that was held in Washington, D.C., in May 2000. He also is a member of the Federal Steering Committee that oversees the development of the dietary reference intakes.

Prior to joining DNRC, Dr. Coates was NIDDK's program director for the Type 2 Diabetes Research Program (1993-1996) and project officer for the multicenter clinical study, Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (1994-1996). From 1994 until his departure from NIDDK, he maintained an active interest in career development and fellowship training in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases.

Before coming to NIH, Dr. Coates was on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (1975-1993), where he served as research professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Biochemistry/Biophysics. His Ph.D. degree in human genetics was from Queen's University in Canada (1972), and his postdoctoral training took place in the Department of Human Genetics and Biometry at University College London (1972-1974).

His major research interests for many years focused on inborn errors of human lipid metabolism. Dr. Coates conducted some of the early studies of fatty acid oxidation disorders in infants and children. With an international team of collaborators, he was responsible for defining many of the genetic defects of human mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. He also has studied the metabolism of intestinal and hepatic lipoproteins in people, to identify the metabolic defects in inherited hyperlipidemias. These studies have led to a new understanding of the role of environmental factors, such as diet, in the manifestation of genetic disease.

He has written more than 100 publications and has edited 2 books in these areas of research. Along with several colleagues at NIH, Dr. Coates is editing The Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements, which will appear in print in late 2004.

Since joining NIH, Dr. Coates has received numerous NIH and HHS awards, including---besides the NIH Director's Award---the NIH Award of Merit and the HHS Secretary's Award. He is also the recipient of the John P. McGovern Award from Ball State University.

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