Catherine A. Peterson


Ph.D., R.D.

Associate Director
Associate Professor of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology

Division of Food, Nutrition & Exercise Sciences (FNES)

Research at a glance

Area(s) of Expertise

Research Summary

Dietary factors in disease prevention, focus on vitamin D and its potential role in health protection via modulation of the adipoinsular axis and its anti-inflammatory functions.

Catherine Peterson, R.D.N., Ph.D. is a nutrition scientist and registered dietitian. She is an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology (NEP) at the University of Missouri. Peterson earned her PhD in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and was a NIH Post-doctoral trainee in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Peterson has also worked as principal nutrition scientist for a major infant formula company. Her expertise is in the role of micronutrients and other dietary factors in disease prevention. She has published original research on the effects of variable calcium intakes on bone growth and mineralization, and the effects of soy phytoestrogens on bone throughout various phases of the life span. Using observational surveys, clinical trials and animal models, the current focus of her lab is on vitamin D and its function in health protection via modulation of inflammation and the adipoinsular axis, including the potential role of vitamin D in the fetal origin of obesity and obesity- related metabolic disease. Published works from this focus include several invited reviews on vitamin D in childhood and adolescent obesity.

She serves as an assistant dept chair and director of undergraduate studies for NEP; and she recently served as the associate dean of UG academic programs for the College of Human Environmental Sciences. Since 2004, she has taught several undergraduate and graduate courses, including human nutrition, research methods and nutrition research communication. She currently teaches the large nonmajors introductory human nutrition course. In 2014, she was given the Distinguished Teacher Award by the College of Human Environmental Sciences.

Educational background

  • Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Courses taught

  • NEP 1034: Introduction to Human Nutrition
  • NEP 1034H: Introduction to Human Nutrition – Honors
  • NEP 2340: Human Nutrition I
  • NEP 2340H: Human Nutrition I – Honors
  • HDFS 1234: Successful Adulting