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Food Science and Human Nutrition Department

Food Science and Human Nutrition Department

Dr. Robert J. Cousins

Eminent Scholar
Boston Family Professor of Nutrition
Director, Center for Nutritional Sciences, University of Florida

Dr. Cousins' research focuses on understanding the nutritional significance of zinc and how this micronutrient acts as a signaling molecule where specific zinc transporters target zinc to cellular sites to influence function. His laboratory makes extensive use of mutant mouse models and cell level experimentation and capitalizes on techniques of molecular biology and state-of-the-art analytical methods. His publications are highly cited earning an h - index of 81 and i10 - index of 201. He has trained over 75 doctoral students and postdoctoral associates.  Dr. Cousins has been President of both FASEB and the American Society for Nutrition. His numerous research awards include the Osborne & Mendel Award (ASN), MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, and Bristol Myers-Squibb Mead Johnson Award. He is a Fellow of the ASN and American Association for the Advancement of Science and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.


  • Research


    Dr. Cousins’ research has evolved from understanding the nutritional significance of zinc to elucidating how this micronutrient acts as a signaling molecule through regulated cellular transporters to produce influences on cellular function, host defense mechanisms and specific diseases. The laboratory members work as a team but on individual projects built around the central theme of zinc metabolism and function using the latest available technologies. The laboratory is unique in that this experimental theme is maintained from experiments at the molecular level, to those with isolated cells, with mutant mouse models, and to those with human subjects.

  • Teaching

    Courses Taught

    • HUN 6356 Minerals in Nutrition 3 credits Spring, odd numbered years
    • HUN 6812 Analytical Techniques in Nutritional Biochemistry 1 credit Spring, even numbered years

Robert Cousins, Ph.D.

Contact Information

572 Newell Dr.
Food Science and Human Nutrition Building (FSHN)
Room 201A
P.O. Box 110370
Gainesville, FL 32611-0370



  • Education
    • Post Doctoral. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Biochemistry, 1968-1971
    • Ph.D. University of Connecticut, Storrs; Nutritional Biochemistry, 1968
    • M.S. University of Connecticut, Storrs; Animal Sciences, 1965
    • B.A. University of Vermont, Burlington; Zoology-Chemistry, 1963
  • Publications
  • Honors/Awards
    • National Academy of Sciences, Elected Member, 2000
    • Bristol-Myers, Squibb/Mead Johnson Award for Distinguished Achievement in Biomedical (Nutrition) Research, 2003
    • American Society for Nutrition, Osborne and Mendel Award for Outstanding Basic Research, 1989
    • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, MERIT Award, 1992-2000
    • USDA, Secretary’s Honor Award, 2000
    • American Society of Nutrition, Dannon Institute Mentorship Award, 2010
    • American College of Nutrition, Research Award, 2003
    • University of Florida, Gamma Sigma Delta Senior Faculty Award of Merit, 1993
    • American Society for Nutrition, President, 1996-1997
    • International Society for Trace Element Research in Humans, Distinguished Scientist, 2011
    • American Society for Nutrition, Mead Johnson Award for Research in Nutrition, 1979
    • University of Florida, Eminent Scholar Chair, 1982-present
    • USDA Agricultural Research Service, W.O. Atwater Lectureship, 2011
    • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), President and Board Chairman, 1991-1992
    • University of Florida, Sigma Xi Senior Faculty Research Award, 2012
    • American Society for Nutrition, Elected Fellow, 2011
    • American Association for the Advancement of Science, Elected Fellow, 2014

    Named Lectureships

    • Prichard Lecture in Nutritional Sciences (Inaugural),
      Cornell University, 2015
    • W. O. Atwater Lecturer
      (Agricultural Research Service, USDA), 2011
    • Rank Prize Lecturer , Grasmere, UK, 2008
    • G. Malcolm Trout Visiting Scholar, Michigan State University, 2003
    • Eric Underwood Lectureship, TEMA 10, Evian, France, 1999
    • Lucille B. Hurley Lectureship, University of California, Davis, 1997
    • Hans Fisher Lectureship in Nutrition, Rutgers University, 1995
    • Stars of Nutrition Lecturer, Pennsylvania State University, 1990
    • James Waddell Memorial Lecturer, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1989
    • Distinguished Speaker in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
      University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, 1989
    • Mary S. Shorb Lecturer in Nutrition, University of Maryland, 1989
    • Burroughs-Wellcome, Visiting Professorship, FASEB Sponsored,
      Auburn University, 1986
    • John Lee Pratt Lecturer in Nutrition, Virginia Tech, 1980
  • Lab Information