George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award

The 2024 award application is now closed.

The ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation awards the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award. This award recognizes nutrition leaders for their achievements as outstanding research mentors. Named in honor of Dr. George Blackburn, this award celebrates his commitment and generosity to the ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation and honors his academic and research mentorship.

Recipients will be awarded each year during a Foundation event at the ASPEN Nutrition Science & Practice Conference


  • The nominee must be at least 10 years into his/her research and/or academic career.
  • The nominee's research focus should relate to clinical nutrition, metabolism, and/or nutrition support.
  • The nominee must be a member of ASPEN.
  • The nominee must be an effective mentor.

Application Information

George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award Instructions and FAQs

  • To nominate a colleague, please submit a letter of recommendation to ASPEN staff at [email protected], who will then contact the nominee for an application.
  • To nominate yourself, please complete the online application.

Candidates must complete the online application and include the following materials:

  1. Two nominations or supporting letters outlining the nominee's research mentoring activities. Letters should describe the following qualities that make the nominee an outstanding research mentor:
    • Highlight research accomplishments
    • How the mentor has actively encouraged inquiry, innovation, and created opportunities for trainees to conduct research.
    • How the mentor has supported and influenced trainees’ educational and career paths (presentation and publication opportunities, planning for continued research and/or graduate studies, further academic positions).
    • Provide examples of inspiration, encouragement, or challenge as well as any other attributes or actions that make this mentor truly exceptional.
  2. Nominee’s curriculum vitae.
  3. Completed evaluation forms of at least two mentees of the nominee. (Please do not include mentee CVs and make sure that the mentees completing evaluations are different from those providing nominating or supporting letters.)
  4. Complete list of past and present mentees with their topics of research, current status, and any progress made in the development of their research career.
Current ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation Board members and the ASPEN President are ineligible during their active terms. 


    Nominations will be presented to a committee appointed by the Foundation President. 

    Congratulations to the 2023 George Blackburn Research Mentorship Awardee

    Alverdy_JohnJohn Alverdy, MD 
    Sarah and Harold Lincoln Thompson Professor of Surgery Executive Vice-Chair
    Department of Surgery, University of Chicago 

    A message from Dr. Alverdy 
    "It is a great honor to receive the George Blackburn Research Mentorship award for 2023. Dr. George Blackburn, a friend, colleague and mentor is a legendary figure in clinical nutrition and metabolism. I recall the many kind invitations from him to participate in the outstanding program he directed from Harvard and the Deaconess hospital. As a young man, I was fortunate to meet the giants in clinical and experimental nutrition through these yearly meetings and was inspired by them to continue along this important line of inquiry and understand the most important role that nutrition plays in the outcome from a surgical intervention. My very first scientific presentation was in Florida in the late 1980’s at the prestigious ASPEN society meeting. Being able to present and support my work in front of luminaries such as Dr Blackburn was an inspiration I will never forget. Given my original focus on the gut microbiome, this work has now come full circle: diet has become among the most important factors governing the composition and function of the gut microbiome. I could not be more pleased to have started my research career in the nutrition space and then to have ended up discovering that where I started is where I ended up and where the field is going. It is a tribute to the importance of mentorship and its legacy to all who have trained me and to all whom I have trained in this important and lasting field."

    Click here to view all of the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award Recipients 

    NEW! In addition to the George Blackburn Research Mentorship Award, the ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation would like to announce the establishment of a new grant in honor of Dr. George Blackburn focused on nutrition and metabolism. The ASPEN Rhoads Research Foundation relies on the generosity of members of the parenteral nutrition and enteral nutrition community and friends through their gifts of support. There are many opportunities to aid in the tremendous work of nutrition science. With your help, the establishment of a new grant named in honor of George Blackburn is possible. For more information about Dr. George Blackburn and to find out how you can help fund this prestigious grant, please click here