Assistant Professor Paul Spagnuolo receives nutrition research award

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dr. Spagnuolo made headlines worldwide last year for ground-breaking research on the use of avocado-derived molecules in combating acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). AML is a devastating disease that proves fatal within five years for 90 percent of seniors who are diagnosed with it.

Spagnuolo and his team’s findings have the potential to significantly increase life expectancy and quality of life for AML patients. They discovered a lipid in avocados that fights AML by targeting the root of the disease – leukaemia stem cells. 

Dr. Spagnuolo's lab investigates the potential anti-cancer treatment applications of nutraceuticals (i.e., food-derived bioactive compounds)

These impressive findings are being recognized this year by the American Society for Nutrition at the Experimental Biology conference in April, where Spagnuolo will be awarded the Mead Johnson Award. The award recognizes a young investigator for a single outstanding piece of nutrition research, accomplished within ten years of postgraduate training.

I’m greatly honoured to be receiving this award. The unexpected popularity of our findings shows that the public is genuinely interested in nutraceuticals, and the support of the American Society for Nutrition helps promote and enable this kind of important research.

Dr. Spagnuolo is among only a handful of researchers worldwide who apply the pharmaceutical industry’s rigorous drug discovery research processes to food-derived compounds. He will formally receive the Mead Johnson Award on April 3rd in San Diego.