For his long-running research on the molecular genetics and biochemistry of the vitamins folate and vitamin B-12, and their link to colon cancer, cardiovascular disease and human birth defects, Patrick Stover, professor of nutritional biochemistry and director of Cornell’s Division of Nutritional Sciences, has received a prestigious MERIT (Method to Extend Research in Time) award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
In the award letter from NIDDK, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Stover is cited for his “consistent and excellence contributions to scientific knowledge” on the subject. Among his breakthrough findings: the identification of a gene that increases the risk for colon cancer in laboratory mice when their diets lack folate; the genetic underpinnings of mitochondrial depletion syndrome in humans; and, in mice, the discovery of a gene that causes neural tube defects.
MERIT awards provide recipients with stable, long-term research funding, freeing them from the administrative burden of submitting their work for regular renewals and reviews. With the award, Stover will receive 10 years of uninterrupted support for his research on folate (vitamin B-9) and vitamin B-12.
“I am grateful to NIH-NIDDK for their continuous support of my research program since I arrived at Cornell as an assistant professor in 1994, and for giving me the security and opportunity to undertake high-risk/high-reward fundamental research through this MERIT award,” Stover said. “I value my continuing relationship with this important NIH institute, which has played such a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of fundamental metabolism and nutrition and the molecular basis of human chronic disease.”
Stover had previously received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers and the E.L.R. Stokstad Award in Nutritional Biochemistry from the American Society for Nutrition.
Ted Boscia is assistant director of communications for the College of Human Ecology.