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Vitamin D Expert Honored

One of the World’s Leading Experts in Vitamin D Research Honored by Fellow Scientists

UC Riverside’s Professor Anthony Norman joins distinguished list at ASNS

(April 19, 2004)

Prof. Anthony Norman

Prof. Anthony Norman

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (April 19, 2004) -- UC Riverside Professor Anthony Norman, regarded as one of the world’s leading experts on Vitamin D, is now a Fellow of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences (ASNS).

Norman, the presidential chair in biochemistry at UCR, accepted the honor at a banquet of the ASNS in Washington D.C. on April 18. Norman has been a member of the ASNS since around 1970, and has received two previous awards from the organization for his Vitamin D research. Norman has also had two publications he wrote declared “nutritional classics” by the organization. “It is an honor to be further recognized by my society,” Norman said. “Only a limited number of senior persons per year become Fellows, and it is a very distinguished list.”

“Of course, the principal need for vitamin D and its daughter Hormone D are to stimulate calcium absorption in our intestine from the food we eat, and to incorporate it into our bone, which is undergoing remodeling every day of our life,” Norman said. “In addition, Hormone D is involved in insulin secretion, hair growth, etc.”

As a distinguished professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at UCR, Prof. Norman has served as one of three principal organizers of the Vitamin D Workshop, held every three years for more than 30 years. The workshops are held alternately in North America and Europe, and bring together the brightest names in Vitamin D research. The next Vitamin D Workshop will be held April 7-12, 2006 in Victoria, B.C., Canada.

“A typical Workshop is attended by 400-500 scientists, all of whom conduct research on some aspect of vitamin D,” Norman said. “In Maastricht (Netherlands) last year, there were representatives from about 30 countries. The principle function of the Vitamin D Workshop is to provide a forum for recent research on vitamin D.”

In 1967, Norman’s own laboratory discovered that vitamin D is converted into a steroid hormone by the body. “1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D, or Hormone D, as I say,” Norman said. Since 1970, there has been considerable interest in drug development of Hormone D.

“Some are now available,” Norman said. “Rocaltrol is marketed for osteoporosis in more than 17 countries. Dovonex is a topical ointment that is very effective for psoriasis. Many laboratories are working on drug forms of Hormone D for treatment of some cancers, particularly prostate cancer and leukemia.”

The 2006 Workshop is sponsoring, with the NIH National Cancer Institute, a three-day meeting on Vitamin D and 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D as a cancer chemopreventive.

“This was a hot topic at the last workshop,” Norman said. “There is also much interest in what is the proper amount of vitamin D - not the hormone - that an average individual should receive each day.” Norman’s laboratory is currently involved in better understanding the molecular mechanisms of how Hormone D generates biological responses.



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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