NPF awards three scholarships


WASHINGTON — The Natural Products Foundation on Monday named the three recipients of its 2012 NPF Scholarship.

“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," stated David Matteson, chairman of the NPF Scholarship Committee.

The three students are Lauren Au of Tufts University, Taylor Kaufmann of Bastyr University and Vanessa Mardones of Memorial University.


Au is a doctoral student at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. 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. Au currently is 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,” Au said. She plans to apply her supplement research and food policy background to a post-doctoral position in government. Au's research will provide insight into vitamin D supplement recommendations for childhood populations.


Kaufmann is an anthropologist and certified medical herbalist who recently graduated from the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. She is now pursuing a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University. Kaufmann plans research that aims to demonstrate the efficacy of natural products.


“I want to facilitate medical doctors and naturopathic doctors working together,” Kaufmann said. “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.”


Mardones is a member of the doctoral program in biology at Memorial University. 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.


“Through my research I hope to achieve results [that] 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," Mardones said.


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

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