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Michael Pagliassotti assumes leadership in Food Science and Human Nutrition

July 19, 2013

Prominent researcher in nutrition and liver function now head of the department in the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Michael PagliassottiA prominent researcher and professor in the area of nutrition and liver function in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is applying his leadership skills in a new role as head of the department. Michael J. Pagliassotti, who holds the Lillian Fountain Smith Endowed Chair in Nutrition, took the reins on July 1. He takes over for Chris Melby, who served as department head for 10 years before moving back into his faculty research and teaching role within the department.

Pagliassotti, who arrived at CSU in 2003, has spent his career investigating how impairments in liver function both contribute to and result from type 2 diabetes and obesity. His contributions include how specific nutrients such as fructose influence liver function and how obesity-related liver diseases, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, develop and progress and have important implications for recommendations surrounding the human diet and disease prevention. Pagliassotti will also continue his research while serving as department head.

Outstanding member of his discipline

"I am excited to welcome Michael Pagliassotti into this new leadership role. He ranks as one of the most outstanding members of his discipline, and brings important experience in acquiring external research funding to this position," said Jeff McCubbin, Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences. "I look forward to working with him to build on the diversity of expertise in the department as they strive to increase our understanding of nutrition and how it relates to health." 

Over his career, Pagliassotti has generated more than $7.5 million in NIH funding, with $4.6 million of that being generated since arriving at CSU in 2003. Additionally, he has received over $2 million in mentor-based awards from NIH that have supported new faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students.

Pagliassotti received his Ph.D. in 1988 from the University of Southern California and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical School in 1992.

Illuminating role of nutrition in health

"I look forward to working with the faculty and staff in the department, the College of Health and Human Sciences, and the university upper administration to promote our central mission, which is to illuminate the role of food and nutrition in the health of society," Pagliassotti said. "My goal is to foster an environment of new ideas, creative thought, collaboration, and hard work to develop new strategies for building on our prior successes. I am confident that our talented faculty, staff, and students will continue to make important contributions to research, education, and service in the area of nutrition." 

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition houses popular undergraduate academic programs in nutrition and food science, hospitality management, and a new program in fermentation science and technology. Academic degrees are also offered at the master's and Ph.D. levels. The Kendall Anderson Nutrition Center and FSHN Extension both offer nutrition education and food safety services and programs to professionals and community members around Colorado.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University. Learn more at

Contact: Gretchen Gerding
Phone: 491-5182