Natural Products Foundation

NPF Scholarship Fund

NPF Scholarship Fund Awards 2012

NPF is pleased to announce three recipients of the 2012 NPF Scholarship: Lauren Au of Tufts University, Taylor Kaufmann of Bastyr University, and Vanessa Mardones of Memorial University.

Lauren Au is a doctoral student at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Ms. Au earned a Bachelor in Science in Nutritional Sciences, Dietetics from University of California, Berkeley and completed her Dietetic Internship and Masters in Nutrition and Public Health from Columbia University. Ms. Au is currently examining the influences of adiposity and skin color to serum vitamin D.

“My research involves determining the vitamin D intakes needed to meet recommended serum vitamin D and understanding adherence to taking vitamin D supplements in ethnically diverse children,” noted Ms. Au. She plans to apply her supplement research and food policy background to a post-doctoral position in government. Ms. Au's research will provide insight into vitamin D supplement recommendations for vulnerable childhood populations.

Taylor Kaufmann is an anthropologist and certified medical herbalist recently graduated from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. She is now pursuing a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University. Ms. Kaufmann spent much of her college career in the field studying cultures, including research conducted in Rwanda, Uganda, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Kenya, and Tanzania. Among her current academic activities, Ms. Kaufmann plans research that aims to demonstrate the efficacy of natural products.

“I want to facilitate Medical Doctors and Naturopathic Doctors working together,” stated Ms. Kaufmann. “The simple addition or substitution of a natural supplement to a patient’s treatment plan can increase the efficacy of some medications, or even alleviate negative symptoms. I do not believe that a patient should have to choose between Allopathic and Holistic or Alternative medicine. I want to cultivate a collaboration, a joining of these life-saving forces, to create the best, most well-rounded care possible.”

Vanessa Mardones is a member of the doctoral program in Biology at Memorial University. Ms. Mardones is a medical herbalist and former fellow at the National Center for Natural Products Research. She is investigating the environmental and cultural parameters that affect the potency of Rhodiola rosea, an adaptogenic plant native to arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Her research will examine the effects of climate change on wild populations of the plant, broadening understanding of how environmental factors influence biosynthesis.

“It is my goal to conduct natural products research which contributes to a scientific understanding of the interrelationship between the phytochemical constituents of medicinal plant products and their growth conditions,” said Ms. Mardones. “Through my research I hope to achieve results which help to optimize the cultivation methods used to safely and sustainably procure potent medicinal plants, and to improve the quality of medicinal plants available in the natural products industry.”

All awards granted through the Scholarship Fund support ongoing natural education. By helping members of the community achieve their professional objectives, NPF continues to foster and support the advancement of natural health. NPF plans to again open applications to the Scholarship Fund at the end of 2012 through early 2013.

"Our scholarship program is part of the NPF's long-term commitment to the industry,” said David Matteson, Chairman of the NPF Scholarship Committee. “Supporting academics to deepen the research and more widely share the evidence behind our products is critical to ensuring that natural products are embraced by the market, endorsed by regulators, and accessible to consumers."

“The NPF Scholarship Fund has received strong applications from students across the country,” said NPF Chairman Derek Hall. “We were extremely impressed by the commitment we’ve seen from applicants, as well as the diversity of academic disciplines that students are pursuing to improve the natural health field. After reviewing so many excellent candidates, NPF is pleased to select Ms. Au, Ms. Kaufmann, and Ms. Mardones as the 2012 recipients of NPF Scholarship Awards.”

“This year's recipients illuminate the growing interest in natural products and the expanding career opportunities,” said Mr. Matteson. “Our goal is to grow the NPF Scholarship Program to support this welcomed interest. This is a great cause that is easily supported."

Please help NPF support natural health education for the coming year by contributing to the Scholarship Fund: Fund 2013


NPF Scholarship Fund Award Winners 2011

The recipients of the 2011 NPF Scholarship Fund were announced at the Natural Products Association MarketPlace trade show on June 24, 2011 in Las Vegas: Lauren Atwell of Oregon State University and Linda Sousse of the University of Texas Medical Branch.

“The NPF Scholarship Fund has received strong applications from students across the country,” said NPF Chairman Derek Hall. “This is the first time NPF has awarded scholarships, and we are inspired by the dedication we’ve seen from applicants. After reviewing so many excellent candidates, NPF is pleased to select Ms. Atwell and Ms. Sousse as the first recipients from the fund.”

Lauren Atwell is enrolled in the Nutrition Graduate Program at Oregon State University as a Ph.D. candidate. Ms. Atwell earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and a Master's degree in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia. She plans to pursue a career in research, and her academic interests involve investigating the relationships between nutrition and cancer processes at the molecular level.

Currently, Ms. Atwell is researching a compound found in cruciferous vegetables, sulforaphane, and its effects on prostate cancer cells. Understanding cancer cell biology, testing gene-nutrient interactions, and uncovering cell signaling mechanisms are key elements to defining the relationships between nutrient metabolism and cancer. Her future research ambitions include study of nutrient and gene interactions in relation to cancer prevention and treatment. 

Linda Sousse recently completed her Ph.D. at the University of Texas Medical Branch in March 2011. Ms. Sousse completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and attended a Master’s program in Business Administration at Texas A&M. She currently studies in the Department of Pathology, conducting research focusing on inhalation injury in burn victims.

On the strength of her dissertation work, she recently had two first author manuscripts accepted, focusing on oxidative stress and the arginase:nitric oxide synthase pathway. Ms. Sousse has presented research at two international and two national conferences:  International Society for Burn Injuries in Istanbul, Turkey in July 2010 and Trauma, Shock, Inflammation, and Sepsis in Munich, Germany in March 2010, as well as the American Burn Association in March 2010 and the Shock Society in June 2009.  She will be pursuing a post-doctorate education at the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University.


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