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Vattem Joins CEHHS as Nutrition Department Head

Dhiraj (Raj) Vattem is the new department head in the Department of Nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences. Vattem assumed his new role on August 1st.

Photo of Raj Vattem. He has a medium complexion and dark hair. He is standing in front of a tan curtain, wearing a purple striped shirt and has his arms crossed.

Dhiraj (Raj) Vattem

Vattem, is a recognized global expert in molecular/clinical nutrition and pharmacognosy, with over 20 years of experience leading research, discovery, development and commercialization of therapeutics, functional foods and nutritional products from food macro/micro-nutrients, botanicals, probiotics and dietary supplements for malnutrition, cardio-metabolic health and infectious diseases.

Before joining CEHHS, Vattem served as Director of the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness, Chief Research Officer of the College of Health Sciences and Professions and Principal Investigator and Director of the Natural Products and Human Microbiome Laboratory at Ohio University. He is also a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Institute of Biomedical Sciences at Shinshu University, Japan.

“I am so pleased Raj joined our team in the CEHHS, said Ellen McIntyre, CEHHS Dean. “He comes with extensive experience in leadership and administration and has a wonderful body of research as well. Raj is just the right person to lead in Nutrition at this critical time.”

Outside of academia, he is the co-founder and chief technology officer of an Agri-biomedical startup, has served as scientific advisor and consultant to more than 20 companies from start-ups to Fortune 500 organizations, and provided subject-matter expertise and guidance to elected government officials, regulatory agencies, corporations, and trade groups in North America and globally.

He is also an enthusiastic educator, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in nutrition, food science, biochemistry and is dedicated to student mentoring and training. Vattem received is PhD (Food Biotechnology) from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MS (Food Technology) from Central Food Technological Research Institute (India) and BS (Biochemistry) from Delhi University (India).

When not at work, he enjoys amateur astronomy, DIY electronics, solving puzzles, watching movies, travelling and spending time with his family.

“I am excited to work collaboratively with other leaders in CEHHS and across UTK on many strategic initiatives and propel the nutrition department into the next level of academic distinction,” said Vattem.

Through its eight departments and 12 centers, the UT Knoxville College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences enhances the quality of life for all through research, outreach, and practice. Find out more at