Iowa State University Alumni Association

Susan Carlson 2017

PhD '75 Food and Nutrition
Kansas City, Mo.

Dr. Susan Carlson is internationally recognized as a leader, pioneer and educator in the field of maternal and infant nutrition.

Her groundbreaking research on DHA-fortified infant formula in the 1980s has made a global impact on infant feeding practices. As a direct result of her tireless work and advocacy, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the use of DHA and arachidonic acid in infant formula, which can now be found in more than 90 percent of all products on the market.

Carlson has conducted her research at the University of Kansas Medical Center since 1999, and in 2008 she was named the school’s AJ Rice Professor of Nutrition. She previously held faculty positions at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, the University of Tennessee – Memphis, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the University of South Florida. She holds two patents and has authored numerous peer-reviewed journal reports, research documents and invited editorials. She has become a sought-after scholar, researcher, consultant, panel reviewer and editorial reviewer.

A recent president of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, Carlson has been a committed member of numerous professional societies and editorial boards throughout her career. Among the many organizations that have benefitted from her leadership and expertise are the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, the American Society for Nutrition, the American Pediatric Society, the Southern Society for Pediatric Research, the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, the International Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation, the American Oil Chemists Society, Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi and the American College of Nutrition.

Carlson received the 2008 Agnes Higgins Award from the March of Dimes, the 2009 Helen LeBaron Hilton Award from the Iowa State University College of Human Sciences and the 2016 Marjorie Sirridge Excellence in Medicine and Science Award from the University of Kansas Medical Center. In 2002, she was made an honorary member of the American Dietetic Association in recognition of her pioneering work.

Carlson and her husband, Gerald, class of 1975 and also a faculty member at the KU Medical Center, are proud graduates of Iowa State who defended their dissertations on the same hour of the same day in 1975, when their son, Michael, was 5 years old. They later added a daughter, Sarah, to their family. “Those early years were when we learned to balance the demands of our dual careers and family and made many lifelong friends,” Carlson remembers.

The Carlsons are Iowa State University Alumni Association annual members.


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