Nutrition professor named Broadhurst Career Development Professor

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Muzi Na, assistant professor of nutritional sciences, has been named the Broadhurst Career Development Professor for the Study of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.

Na’s research focuses on food security and how it is associated with health disparities. Past research often linked food security with nutritional effects, but current research — like Na’s — also points to non-nutritional effects, including those related to mental health and stress.

Muzi Na is an assistant professor of nutritional sciences. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

“If you think about it, food insecurity — limited access to food for financial, social or physical reasons — influences many different things. My research addresses not only nutritional health, but everything that is affected by access to food,” said Na, who studies these effects in various populations, including a wide range of international populations and domestic low-income populations.

During this three-year appointment, Na plans to utilize the funds to support three ongoing studies: a Food and Agriculture Organization-sponsored study looking at food insecurity and social effects worldwide; a Penn State Clinical and Translation Science Institute study on low-income populations in Central Pennsylvania; and a UNICEF-sponsored study addressing how parents in South African countries feed their children.

“With this professorship, I can do the things I am most interested in and that are critical to do. In all things I want to support people,” said Na. “It’s really an acknowledgement of research and the field, that the college would like to invest more in it, and I feel very honored to receive the professorship.”

Catharine Ross, head the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair, and professor of nutrition and physiology, said the professorship will help Na bring new analyses and understanding to her research correlating nutrition and its effects.

“These funds enable faculty to be more creative than they otherwise could be, especially as young professors at a time in their career when they are at a prime time to expand their research in new ways,” said Ross. “For Muzi, her work on food security is likely to be influential both internationally and in the U.S., and this endowment can help her take a step forward.”

Na joined the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University Park in 2017. She earned her doctorate in human nutrition and master’s in biostatistics from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2014.

The Broadhurst Career Development Professor for the Study of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, established by Penn State alumni James and Suzanne Broadhurst in 2010, provides faculty members with funds to support their professional development. Endowed support for young faculty also impacts students, as professors often use such funds to hire undergraduate and graduate students as research or teaching assistants, or to cover students’ independent research or professional travel.

To learn more about the Penn State Department of Nutritional Sciences, visit

Last Updated August 05, 2019