David B. Allison, Ph.D., professor of biostatistics and head of the Section on Statistical Genetics in the UAB School of Public Health, received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). He was honored at a White House ceremony Nov. 16.
This award, the nation’s highest for mentoring in science, engineering and mathematics, is given by the President of the United States to recognize 10 individuals and one organization that have demonstrated a commitment to mentoring students and increasing the participation of minorities, women and disabled students in science, technology, mathematics and engineering.
The PAESMEM award, presented annually since 1996 and administered by the National Science Foundation, includes a $10,000 grant and a presidential commemorative certificate. Nominations are made by colleagues, administrators and students from the nominee’s organization. Winners are considered examples to their colleagues and leaders in the national effort to develop more fully the nation’s human resources in these areas.
Allison also is a professor of nutrition sciences and director of the NIH-funded Clinical Nutrition Research Center in the UAB School of Health Professions. He heads interdisciplinary scientific programs that include statistical genetics, clinical nutrition research, genomics, obesity and longevity.
Under-represented trainees are attracted to his academic research areas, he said, because of the high visibility of the subject matter and because of the disproportionate prevalence of obesity and related co-morbidities currently evidenced in the African-American and other minority communities. In all, Allison has mentored 64 scientists, a large proportion from under-represented groups.
Allison said he is extremely honored to have been selected for this award.
“When someone puts their trust and faith in you to mentor them in the pursuit of science, it is itself one of the greatest honors one can receive, and fulfilling one’s responsibilities as a mentor is among the most rewarding experiences a scientist can have. Hence, being recognized for my mentorship by this award makes me feel doubly privileged.”
Allison joined the UAB faculty in 2001 and has authored more than 300 scientific publications and edited three books. He has won several awards, including the 2002 Lilly Scientific Achievement Award from the North American Association for the Study of Obesity and the 2002 Andre Mayer Award from the International Association for the Study of Obesity. He is president-elect of the Obesity Society, North America’s leading academic obesity society, and has been a member of the board of trustees for the International Life Science Institute, North America, since 2002. He serves or has served on the editorial boards of PLoS Genetics, Obesity, Obesity Reviews; Nutrition Today; International Journal of Eating Disorders; International Journal of Obesity; Behavior Genetics; Computational Statistics and Data Analysis; and Human Heredity. His research interests include obesity, quantitative genetics, clinical trials and statistical and research methodology.