Interim Dean Named at Friedman School

Nutritional behaviorist Robin Kanarek to take the helm July 1
April 14, 2011


The Tufts University psychologist Robin Kanarek, who has gained international acclaim for her work in nutrition and behavior, has been named interim dean of the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, effective July 1. A member of the faculty for 34 years, Kanarek is a former dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

The current dean, Eileen T. Kennedy, announced earlier this year that she would step down June 30 after leading the school for seven years.

Kanarek, the John Wade Professor in the School of Arts and Sciences, joined the psychology department in 1977 and has been an adjunct professor at the Friedman School since 1989.

“I am very honored to be chosen as the interim dean of the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition,” says Kanarek. “In the last 30 years, I have had the pleasure of watching nutrition at Tufts grow from an interest of a few people to a full-fledged school of international renown. I look forward to working with all of the members of the Friedman School community.”

“I am very honored to be chosen as the interim dean of the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition,” says Robin Kanarek. Photo: Joanie TobinThroughout her career at Tufts, Kanarek has been active in undergraduate and graduate education. In 2000, the undergraduate student senate named her Professor of the Year, and she was honored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 2009 for outstanding contributions to graduate education. Kanarek chaired the Department of Psychology from 1996 to 2002, when she was appointed dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, a position she held until 2006.

In her research, Kanarek has investigated a range of issues in nutrition, including the effects of nutritional variables on the development of obesity and diabetes; the physiological and behavioral factors influencing diet selection in experimental animals and humans and the roles of nutrients and physical activity in determining the consequences of psychoactive drugs. Most recently, she has been studying the effects of obesity and diabetes on cognitive behavior, and the relationship between nutritional variables and cognitive behavior in children and adults.

She is an author of more than 100 publications, and has presented the results of her research at conferences in this country and abroad. Kanarek is a member of the editorial boards of the Tufts University Health and Nutrition Newsletter, Physiology and Behavior and Nutritional Neuroscience, and is a former editor-in-chief of Nutrition and Behavior.

She also has served as a member of the Committee on Military Nutrition Research for the National Academy of Sciences and on review committees for the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation.

Kanarek holds a B.A. in biology from Antioch College and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in psychology from Rutgers University. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard University and a research fellow in the division of endocrinology at UCLA.