Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition
Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
Heard a lot about the benefits of folic acid lately? Thank Lynn Bailey. The March of Dimes,the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other prominent organizations have all looked to Bailey for research and expert advice on the role of B vitamins in human nutrition, specifically folic acid, or folate.
Bailey’s “reputation is second to none as a major contributor to knowledge regarding vitamin requirements and practical aspects of folate metabolism, folate utilization from human diets, and consequences of inadequate folate intake,” according to one of her colleagues.
Folic acid is a B vitamin crucial to cellular development that helps reduce the risk of neural tube defects like spina bifida and anencephaly in developing fetuses. Lack of folate has also been linked to increased risk of vascular diseases, certain cancers and anemia.
Bailey also served on the FDA Folic Acid Committee and the National Academy of Sciences committee that recently increased the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for folate and other B vitamins.
In addition to her teaching and research responsibilities, Bailey has contributed to many books, journals and videos and edited the book Folate in Health and Disease.
Bailey has received a number of awards, including the March of Dimes’ Agnes Higgins Award for 2000-2001, the USDA National Award for Superior Service in Research for 1996, the American Dietetics Association Award for Most Outstanding Article in 1995, Distinguished Alumni awards from both Clemson and Winthrop universities, as well as the University of Florida’s Teaching Improvement, Professional Excellence and Professional Merit awards. A dedicated teacher, graduate mentor, speaker and researcher, Bailey’s work has directly affected students, rural and urban poor, the elderly, women of all ages – and of course, millions of babies.