ILSI 2024 Opening Plenary and Keynote Presentation

Opening of the Symposium

Monday, January 22, 2024 | 9:00 – 10:10 a.m. 

Symposium Co-Chairs: Louise Dye, PhD, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom and Todd Abraham, PhD, MBA, Senior Vice-President at Mondelēz (Retired), USA

Featuring the following presentation:

  • USDA Science and Research Strategy – Cultivating Scientific InnovationDeirdra N. Chester, PhD, RDN, Director, Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS/OSEC) at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

This opening plenary will conclude with the keynote presentation:

  • Role of Technologies in Improving Nutrition, Food Safety and Food Systems John G. Keogh, M.B.A., M.Sc., Shantalla Insight Partners LLC, Canada
Deirdra Chester

Deirdra N. Chester, PhD, RDN, Director, Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS/OSEC) at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Dr. Deirdra Chester serves as the Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS). In this role, she leads OCS in delivering science and research that undergirds the policies and practices of USDA and its customers and stakeholders. Additionally, she steers collaboration activities for USDA science programs that support scientific excellence, innovation, and capacity to achieve the Department’s mission. Prior to this role, Dr. Chester was with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) were she served as the Division Director for the Division of Nutrition. In this role, she provided leadership and oversight for the Division’s research, education, and Extension activities across the nation through competitive grant programs.

Previously, Dr. Chester was the agency Science Advisor for USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Before APHIS, she served as the National Program Leader for NIFA’s Applied Nutrition Research in the Division of Nutrition. Prior to joining NIFA, Dr. Chester was a scientist at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.

Additionally, Dr. Chester is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist. She has spoken both nationally and internationally on nutrition topics and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Obesity and Chronic Disease.

Dr. Chester is an American University Key Executive Leadership program graduate and is SES certified through the USDA Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program. Dr. Chester holds a Ph.D. in Nutrition from Florida International University, where she was awarded the McKnight Doctoral Fellowship and was in the inaugural class of the Gates Millennial Scholars. She also holds a master’s degree in food and nutrition science and a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Florida State University.

Dr. Chester is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. The American Public Health Association Food and Nutrition Section awarded her the Mary C. Egan Award and she was recognized by Florida State University’s College of Human Science with the Circle of Excellence Alumni Award.

John Keogh
Louise Dye
Todd Abraham