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John W. Erdman elected to Institute of Medicine of National Academies

Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor
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John W. Erdman Jr. in his lab
Photo by Bill Wiegand
John W. Erdman Jr., a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was elected today to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — John W. Erdman Jr., a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was elected today to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Erdman was among 65 newly elected U.S. members, who are chosen based on their major contributions to the advancement of medical sciences, health care and public health. There are now 1,382 active U.S. and 71 foreign members in the institute.

Election is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of medicine and health. Active members elect new members from among candidates nominated for their professional achievement and commitment to service.

"The College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign is thrilled to congratulate Dr. John Erdman on his election to the Institute of Medicine," said Bradford S. Schwartz, regional dean.
"Until recently, the role of nutrition in human health has not been well defined. Dr. Erdman’s work has helped set the standard for defining how nutrition influences human health. Because of what he has done, we can foresee the day that specific nutritional modifications will directly influence a given individual’s health."

Erdman’s current research focuses on the impact of bioactive components in tomato products on prostate cancer risks. His previous research on soy protein consumption and human lipid metabolism has contributed to the more widespread acceptance and use of soy in American diets and to FDA approval that allows manufacturers to claim that 25 grams of protein daily reduces the risk of heart disease.

Erdman also serves as the chairman of two committees of the Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board, including a standing committee that is reviewing the nation’s dietary reference intakes and recommended daily allowances. The other committee is advising the military on nutrition issues.

Erdman, who holds an Endowed Nutrition Research Chair, joined the Illinois faculty in 1975. In the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, he holds appointments in the department of food science and human nutrition and in the division of nutritional sciences. He also has an appointment in the department of internal medicine in the College of Medicine. His name has appeared on more than 130 research papers.

Erdman is a past president of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences and is a fellow of the American Heart Association and Institute of Food Technologists. He was named as a Lifetime National Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 2001.

He earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Rutgers University in New Jersey in 1968, 1973 and 1975, respectively.

The IOM was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences and is recognized as a national resource for independent scientifically informed analysis and recommendations on issues related to human health. The IOM Web site has more information on this year’s election.