News Release

Acclaimed nutritionist receives top honor

Educator named UMass Lowell Distinguished University Professor

Grant and Award Announcement

University of Massachusetts Lowell

UMass Lowell Biomedical and Nutritional Science Prof. Katherine Tucker with the Distinguished University Professor award

image: UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney, left, and Provost Joseph Hartman present Biomedical and Nutritional Science Prof. Katherine Tucker with the Distinguished University Professor award. view more 

Credit: (UMass Lowell courtesy photo)

LOWELL, Mass. – Biomedical and Nutritional Sciences Prof. Katherine Tucker, an internationally acclaimed nutritionist, has been named UMass Lowell’s 2021 Distinguished University Professor.

The highest accolade bestowed on a UMass Lowell faculty member, the award honors educators for exemplary teaching, research and service to the university.

Tucker, a Westford resident, serves as the director of the Center for Population Health at UMass Lowell, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. She is also the editor-in-chief of Advances in Nutrition, an international review journal, and a faculty member in the Department of Quantitative Health Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

UMass Lowell Prof. Timothy Ford, chair of the Biomedical and Nutritional Sciences Department, jointly nominated Tucker for the honor, along with 15 faculty members, including UMass Lowell’s Shortie McKinney, dean of the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences.

“Katherine is an outstanding candidate for this award and her accomplishments and service to her profession are too numerous to do justice to in a brief nomination letter,” Ford wrote.

“I am deeply honored by this award, particularly as I know that so many individuals, including Dean McKinney and my department chair, Tim Ford, junior colleagues in my department, and colleagues from other departments working with our Center for Population Health wrote letters in my support,” Tucker said. “I am so appreciative of the wonderful environment of collaboration at UMass Lowell and am proud to see its continued growth as a top research institution.”

Tucker’s research focuses on how diet affects the risk of chronic illness, including osteoporosis, cognitive decline, obesity, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. She has contributed to more than 400 articles in scientific journals and has received more than $30 million in federal and private funding as a researcher. At the Center for Population Health, she and her research team establish long-term interventions for diverse populations that effectively reduce the prevalence of diseases and improve overall quality of health and well-being.

Biomedical and Nutritional Sciences Assistant Prof. Sabrina Noel praised Tucker’s impact on the field of nutritional epidemiology and on the careers of many young scientists, including herself. 

“Katy Tucker is highly productive, authentic, energetic and committed to the successes of her mentees and colleagues,” wrote Noel in a nomination letter. “She sets a positive example and inspires others through her dedication to nutrition research and her strong work ethic, and she sparks curiosity in those around her.” 

UMass Lowell’s Distinguished University Professors each serve for three years and include 2020 honoree Mechanical Engineering Prof. Christopher Niezrecki, 2019 awardee Music Prof. William Moylan and 2018 honoree Psychology Prof. Meg Bond.

Tucker is the 14th professor to receive the award since the recognition was established in 2008. She will deliver the annual Distinguished University Professor Lecture on campus in the spring.


UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe.


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