Susan Mayne, Ph.D.
Susan Mayne, Ph.D. Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
She is passionate about food safety and nutrition and their role in public health. I especially enjoy the intersection of science and policy, leading me to recently relocate to the FDA.
1982 – 1987
1978 – 1982
January 2015 – Present College Park, Maryland
1988 – January 2015 (27 years)Yale School of Public Health
1995 – December 2014 (19 years)
Susan T. Mayne joined the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as the new director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN), replacing her predecessor Michael Landa, who led the center for more than four years.
Susan T. Mayne is C.-E.A. Winslow Professor of Epidemiology with tenure and Chair, Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.
Dr. Mayne is also Associate Director of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, being responsible for Population Sciences.
She also directs a pre-doctoral training program at Yale in Partnership with the U.S. National Cancer Institute, to train students in modern methodologies for evaluating lifestyle determinants of human cancer risk, with an emphasis on nutritional, environmental, and occupational determinants, including their interactions with genetic factors.
Dr. Mayne earned a Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry from Cornell University, with minors in biochemistry and toxicology, and a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Colorado.
Dr. Mayne is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology, and of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women. She has authored or co-authored over 180 articles/book chapters.
She also has served on several editorial boards including the Journal of Nutrition, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, and Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Mayne has served on several National Academy of Sciences committees, including most recently the Committee that established Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin D and Calcium.
She is currently on the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences, and recently completed a 5-year term on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Her research emphasizes lifestyle determinants of human cancer risk.
Mayne certainly boosts the academic credentials of an Ivy League scholar. CFSAN’s new director has researched the role of food, nutrition and obesity as risks for chronic disease, and she is the author or co-author of more than 200 scientific publications, according to FDA. She received a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Colorado, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences, with minors in biochemistry and toxicology, from Cornell University.
“While I make no claims as an expert on food safety, I studied toxicology while earning my Ph.D., and have conducted research into relationships between chemical contaminants and cancer risk, as well as studying microbes and their role in human cancer,” Mayne said in the Q&A. “Thus, I think about things from the perspective of both benefits and risks, and am equally interested in both areas.”
Mayne grew up in rural Colorado. She understands agriculture and comes from a health-conscious family. She said her grandmother lived to be one year shy of age 100 and produced most of her food on a farm in rural Pennsylvania. Mayne’s dad had a small ranch in Colorado where he raised cattle. She characterized her 80-something-year-old mom as “the image of successful aging.”
“She chooses healthy foods, is physically active daily, and frequently sends me pictures of her hikes in the Colorado mountains,” Mayne wrote.
C.-E.A. Winslow Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases)
Susan T. Mayne, Ph.D., an expert in the lifestyle determinants of cancer risk, has been named the C.-E.A. Winslow Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH).
Mayne’s research has emphasized the role of dietary factors in the etiology of several major cancers. She also studies other lifestyle factors, such as tobacco and alcohol use, and their interaction with genetics in cancer risk.
Recently, Mayne co-authored a study that found that indoor tanning significantly raises the risk of an increasingly common form of skin cancer in young people. Mayne and colleagues at the School of Public Health reported online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in December that people under the age of 40 who had tanned indoors had a 69 percent increased risk of early-onset basal cell carcinoma. The team found that the association was strongest among women, and that the risk increased with years of tanning use.
Mayne is head of the Division of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, which includes 28 faculty members. She is also associate director of Yale Cancer Center, where she is responsible for Population Sciences. Mayne, who earned her doctorate from Cornell University, has led Yale’s Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program for 17 years to record-high levels of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and productivity. She developed the Yale-National Cancer Institute partnership, which gives faculty and students access to important national cohort studies for research, as well as an NIH-funded training program in cancer epidemiology and genetics, now entering its ninth year. She has received the Distinguished Teaching Award at YSPH.
A member of several editorial boards, Mayne is a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women. She has authored or co-authored over 170 articles and book chapters.
The C.-E.A. Winslow Memorial Fund was established in 1958 by an anonymous donor to support the work of a professor in the Department of Public Health (a precursor to YSPH). It recognizes Charles-Edward Amory Winslow, M.S., Dr.Ph., who served as chair of the department from its founding in 1915 until his retirement in 1945. A scholar with an international reputation and a firm belief in the philosophy of disease prevention, Winslow profoundly influenced both Yale’s department and the burgeoning field of public health.
By: Susan Mayne, Ph.D.
I have been the director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) for two months now. What I have enjoyed the most about this new job has been getting to know the people in CFSAN, who come from incredibly varied and interesting backgrounds. I am truly impressed by their commitment to excellence and dedication to our mission to protect and promote public health.
I have also been struck by the depth and breadth of expertise involved in every initiative CFSAN undertakes. So many scientific disciplines are involved: We rely on the insights of our medical officers, toxicologists, epidemiologists, biologists, chemists, behavioral scientists, and nutritionists. Working with our scientists are our policy and communications experts, economists and lawyers. We all have the same goal: to give the safety of food and cosmetics and nutrition issues the thorough and careful consideration they deserve.
We stand on two legs: strong science and our ability to create policy and regulatory solutions to address public health concerns. The scientific fields in which we work, from genomics to toxicology, are advancing rapidly. The use of new technologies can make our science better and help us to get the information we need more quickly. Yet the constant evolution and adoption of new scientific methods can also pose unique challenges — for example, in interpreting trends in food safety and foodborne illness.
When considering the science of food and cosmetic safety, we assess the scientific certainty, severity, and likelihood of any given risk, and identify those people who would be most vulnerable. We consider what additional research can be undertaken to better clarify the science for decision-making, and use what we currently understand to determine whether the risk can be avoided.
For each issue, we need to examine the full range of options, ranging from consumer education to regulation to enforcement. For regulatory options we work with our legal teams to consider what is possible within our authorities. What are we empowered to do and how does our work intersect with that of other federal agencies? If we take an action, what is the international context, and are there foreign trade implications? What are the views of groups that will be most affected by our decisions, on both the consumer and industry sides? What are the costs and benefits? Have we thoughtfully considered how to ensure high levels of compliance?
I have observed with a great sense of satisfaction how we work together with other federal partners. For example, leaders from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) visited our center recently to share information and discuss how we can best support each other in our joint commitment to food safety. In the brief time I have been here, I have also observed interactions with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
CFSAN’s work is funded by taxpayers and affects people’s lives every day. Our work has real consequences for consumers, businesses, and industry. I have learned the importance of engaging in meaningful conversations with those outside of government, who are affected by our decisions. As we talk to our industry stakeholders, we benefit from their expertise and better understand the real-world constraints they face, and that ultimately helps us to put forth more effective policy. Similarly, we value hearing the perspectives of consumers, medical groups, and the scientific community, which often highlight areas where additional FDA focus is needed to protect public health. In our communications, we strive to accurately convey the risks and/or benefits of any food or product, and to rapidly communicate any emerging health concerns.
I have observed an amazing array of public health issues coming across my desk at CFSAN over the past two months. I am energized by the diverse breadth and depth of activity, and look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead, and to sharing my thoughts and experiences with you on Twitter and in future blog posts.
Susan Mayne is the Director of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
– See more at: http://blogs.fda.gov/fdavoice/#sthash.gt9fjQow.dpuf
From left to right: Avery LaChance, Leah Ferrucci, Lisa Davis, Susan Mayne
University of Maryland, College Park