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Tom (J. Thomas) Brenna, PhD, is Professor of Human Nutrition, of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, and of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USA.  He is also Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Public Health Sciences at the University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine and Dentistry.

In 2013, he received the annual Robert Herman Award for Clinical Nutrition from the American Society for Nutrition and was appointed by the US Secretaries of Health and Human Services and of Agriculture to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee advising on food policy for the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

His interdisciplinary research group focuses on studies of fatty acid nutrition in the perinatal period, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and their role in neural and retinal development.  Their studies of the efficacy of highly unsaturated PUFA as structural components of the central nervous system have helped to define the mechanism by which these fats support optimal visual and neural function.  He has developed tracer methods based on stable isotopes and uses them extensively in metabolic studies.  More recently he has been interested in the nutritional role of saturated branched chain fatty acids (BCFA) and their possible influence on the early development of the fetal and newborn gastrointestinal tract. His group also focuses on development of biomedical molecular, isotopic, and elemental mass spectrometry.  They also focus are also developing high precision isotope ratio mass spectrometry for detection of endogenous steroid doping, and more recently molecular mass spectrometry for designer steroid detection.  The latter work has been supported by the Partnership for Clean Competition, a coalition of the US Olympic Committee, and various professional sports organizations in the US.  His research is supported by numerous private and public grants, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which has supported his research continuously since 1991.

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