“Receiving the professorship is a recognition of the significant public health contribution that this research can have. It has implications for education, public health, and policy, and it’s important that the College of Health and Human Development is invested in supporting and contributing to a broader understanding of public health,” said Masterson, who plans to use the funds from the professorship to support grant writing and opportunities to present this research throughout the three-year appointment.
According to Meg Bruening, professor of nutritional sciences and head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Masterson’s work “is cutting edge and teeters on the interface of nutrition, neurobiology, and behavior, using modern technologies and computer-based simulations to investigate the response of children and adolescents to food cues, including food messages contained in marketing and social media. This professorship will help advance his innovative work in understanding what drives children’s eating behaviours.
“Dr. Masterson is an excellent scientist and a rising star in the field of nutritional sciences, and we are proud to have him amongst our faculty,” said Bruening.
Masterson joined the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University Park in 2020. Prior to his appointment, he was a post-doctoral research fellow in the Science of Co-occurring Disorders training program at Dartmouth College Geisel School of Medicine. He completed his doctoral degree at Penn State as a USDA Childhood Obesity Prevention Fellow.
The Broadhurst Career Development Professor for the Study of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, established by Penn State alumni James and Suzanne Broadhurst in 2010, provides faculty members in the first decade of their careers with funds to improve their research and teaching and support their professional development . Endowed support for young faculty also impacts students, as professors often use such funds to hire undergraduate and graduate students as research or teaching assistants, or to cover students’ independent research or professional travel.