LaMattina Lecture Series


Karen Phinney, Ph.D.

Group Leader, Biomolecular Measurement Division
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

April 30, 2015
11:10 a.m.
Parsons N104, Iddles Auditorium


"Unraveling the Mysteries of Vitamin D"

Vitamin D, together with calcium, is essential to maintaining bone health, and vitamin D deficiency can lead to bone disorders in both children and adults.  Recent studies have also suggested that the importance of vitamin D may extend well beyond bone health and that suboptimal vitamin D status could be associated with an increased risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases.  As a result, there has been nearly exponential growth over the past decade in the volume of vitamin D testing.   Unfortunately, the accuracy of many of these tests has been questioned, which has an impact on individual patients, research studies, and public health policies.  The National Institute of Standards (NIST) has been involved in several research programs designed to improve the accuracy of vitamin D testing and to understand the factors that may affect an individual’s vitamin D status.  This seminar will highlight some of those efforts as well as describe some of the unexpected discoveries along the way. 


Karen Phinney is a group leader in the Biomolecular Measurement Division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  She received her B.A. in chemistry from Monmouth College and was employed as an analytical chemist at Monsanto Company for several years before attending graduate school.  She received her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Hawaii – Manoa and also received an M.S. in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University.  Her work has encompassed a broad spectrum of applications of chromatography and mass spectrometry.  She has been responsible for the development of reference materials and reference methods for forensic, clinical, and nutritional markers and has led efforts to develop standards for proteomics and metabolomics.  In her current role, she is also involved in the development of techniques for protein characterization and quantification, including therapeutic proteins and protein biomarkers.