Dr. Neil Shay, now the head of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida, has accepted an offer to become the Institute’s first director.
As the institute’s first director, Shay will help further the partnership of Oregon’s leading agricultural and natural resources research institutions, OSU, and Oregon’s world-class wine industry, estimated to contribute more than $1 billion annually to the state’s economy.
Shay's research focuses on bioactive compounds in plants that impact human metabolism and disease conditions including atherosclerosis and diabetes. Parallel to his research, he has passionately pursued opportunities to learn about viticulture and enology for a decade. He is also an award-winning amateur winemaker.
Most recently, Shay's work has led him to investigate health benefits of grape and wine consumption.
"There has been lots of interest generated by the discovery of certain bioactive components in grapes that have beneficial actions on human metabolism," said Shay, whose studies include the ability of bioactive compounds to lower blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
As the director of the Oregon Wine Research Institute, Shay will work closely with the state’s wine and grape industry, connecting OSU’s research and extension programs with growers and winemakers throughout Oregon, thus contributing to the economy of the state.
He will begin work August 15.
"We were impressed with his incredible skills at leading departments and industry groups and his ability to mentor faculty members and to find resources," said David Adelsheim, a pioneer in the Oregon wine industry, a founder of the Oregon Wine Board, and chair of the Oregon Wine Research Institute policy board. "He's also a passionate wine consumer. Having made his own wine, grown his own grapes, worked informally at a winery and toured wine regions of France makes him quite rare in academia."