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Dr. Margherita Cantorna Receives Title of Distinguished Professor

Posted: February 7, 2014

In January 2014, the title of Distinguished Professor was bestowed on VBS faculty member Dr. Margherita Cantorna in recognition of her exceptional record in teaching, research, and service to the University.
Dr. Margherita Cantorna has been a faculty member at Penn State since 1998.

Dr. Margherita Cantorna has been a faculty member at Penn State since 1998.

The special academic title of “Distinguished Professor” recently was awarded to Dr. Margherita Cantorna, of the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences (VBS) Department. She joins fellow VBS faculty member Dr. Jeff Peters, who also holds this title.

During her 15-year career at Penn State, Dr. Cantorna has developed an internationally recognized research program studying the role of vitamin D in the immune system. In addition to her work in vitamin D, she also is interested in other nutrients including vitamin A, selenium and edible mushrooms.

In 2012, the American Society for Nutrition acknowledged the importance of her work with the prized Osborne and Mendel Award for outstanding recent basic research accomplishments in nutrition.

Dr. Cantorna also is quite successful at promoting the training and careers of undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral students, and junior faculty. Numerous students trained in Dr. Cantorna’s lab have been placed in high positions within academia and industry.

Dr. Cantorna has demonstrated important leadership skills while representing Penn State. She is the head of the Graduate Program in Immunology and Infectious Diseases and heads the Center of Molecular Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Furthermore, she has completed four years of service on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Immunity and Host Defense study section, as well as service on training grants, minority affairs, and program project-related review panels; and now serves on the Integrated Nutrition and Metabolic Processes NIH study section.

As summarized by a retired VBS department head, “Dr. Cantorna believes that we must create an intellectual environment that is stimulating for students and faculty, where new ideas and discoveries are generated that will improve the direction of the Institutional Programs in the 21st Century.”