Berkeley - Doris Howes Calloway, a pioneering
nutritional scientist who first studied the dietary needs
of healthy people under controlled conditions and a professor
emerita at the University of California, Berkeley, died Friday,
Aug. 31, of Parkinson's disease at a nursing home in Seattle.
She was 78.
Known internationally and on campus as a ground-breaking
scientist and a sensitive human being, Calloway rose to
the top of her career in several arenas during her 27 years
at UC Berkeley.
She started the "Penthouse" studies, which recorded in
detail the food and energy needs of six volunteers who lived
for several weeks on campus in an isolated environment.
These studies, begun in the 1960s, later became a model
for careful dietary research.
Calloway also was the first woman to break into the ranks
of senior administrators at UC Berkeley, becoming a provost
for UC Berkeley's professional schools and colleges in 1981.
In the late 1980s, during and after her time as UC Berkeley
provost, Calloway led a nine-university, $14 million research
project in Kenya, Egypt and Mexico aimed at understanding
the causes and consequences of moderate malnutrition. That
study not only uncovered the physical and cognitive consequences
of undernutrition, but pinpointed the poor education and
low empowerment of women as a cause.
At the same time, Calloway raised two children and took
the time to mentor younger faculty members and graduate
students as well.
"She was one of the greats," said Leonard Bjeldanes, professor
and chair of the UC Berkeley Department of Nutritional Sciences
and Toxicology. "She was a superbly trained, highly respected
scientist who had great courage about what she took on.
Yet, she was also insightful, a warm person you could have
fun with. I was in awe of her abilities."
Appointed to head UC Berkeley's 13 professional schools
and colleges from 1981-87, Calloway set about turning the
creativity of scientific innovators toward solving human
problems created by technology. As in so many other areas,
she led the way for women in senior positions on campus.
"She broke the ice, and it wasn't easy," recalled Ira Michael
Heyman, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of law and city
planning who was chancellor on campus at the time. "I had
enormous faith in Doris's professionalism and sensitivity.
She was one of my most cherished appointments as chancellor."
Calloway's scientific work has strongly affected all subsequent
research in diet and nutrition. She found early on that
Americans did not need as much protein in their diets as
they believed, said former colleague and Calloway graduate
student Janet King, who now heads a U.S. Department of Agriculture
research center located at UC Davis.
"In the 1950s, nutritionists believed a person needed 100
grams of protein a day. Doris showed that you only need
about half that amount, and the more protein you eat, the
more you excrete, because your body can't use it," said
King, also a UC Berkeley professor emerita of nutritional
Besides rewriting the book on protein requirements in general,
Calloway's research and that of her students teased out
the special needs of menstruating and pregnant women and
the elderly, among others, in a unique laboratory setting
located on the fourth floor of UC Berkeley's Morgan Hall.
There, in a three bedroom apartment, generations of volunteers
lived six at a time for up to three months on a strictly
measured diet. They were allowed outside only for exercise
under supervision, so that every particle associated with
protein metabolism that went into and came out of their
bodies could be traced through not only urine and fecal
excretion, but sweat, hair and skin loss.
"It was meticulous and unparalleled," said King. "Doris
would shave people's heads and put them in special suits
to measure their skin losses. No one before had ever done
such technically challenging studies in nutrition."
The Penthouse studies were directed at UC Berkeley by Calloway
and professor emeritus of public health Sheldon Margen for
17 years, from 1964-81, influencing national standards for
dietary allowances, called the RDAs (recommended daily allowances).
In her later international studies, Calloway, as usual,
took on a difficult and ambitious goal - that of measuring
the social and economic context of mild to moderate malnutrition
among individuals in marginally adequate environments.
These studies quantified in the lives of children the nutritional
consequences of women's lack of economic, social and educational
"One of Doris's missions in life was to improve opportunities
for women and members of minority races," said King. "The
scientific issues she undertook were often linked with -
but not limited by - their needs." Calloway also studied
the nutritional needs of astronauts and American soldiers,
Born in Canton, Ohio, in 1923, Calloway earned a B.S. degree
at Ohio State University in Columbus and a Ph.D. at the
University of Chicago (1947). Her first research work was
for the U.S. Army, at the Armed Forces Food and Container
Institute in Chicago, where in 1959 she won the first of
her many awards, a plaque naming her "Man of the Year" for
research. Calloway loved to point out the plaque and humorously
kept it prominently displayed in her office.
From there, after a brief stint at the Stanford Research
Institute, Calloway was appointed professor of nutrition
at UC Berkeley in 1963. She retired in 1990, but continued
her work until she was incapacitated by Parkinson's disease.
In 1995, she chaired a U.S. government committee that determines
dietary guidelines for Americans every five years.
Among her many honors, Calloway was awarded the Berkeley
Citation and the Bristol-Myers Squibb/Mead Johnson Award
for Distinguished Achievement in Nutrition Research. Two
years ago, the Regents of the University of California created
an endowed chair in human nutrition at UC Berkeley in her
Calloway is survived by her husband of 20 years, Robert
Nesheim of Seattle; a son, David Calloway of Woodland Hills,
Calif.; a daughter, Candace Calloway Whiting of Seattle;
two stepchildren, Sandra Rankin of Danbury, Conn.; and Barbara
Mowry of Denver; and nine grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m., Sunday, Oct.
7, on the Morgan Hall Patio. Contributions can be sent to
the Doris Howes Calloway Memorial Fund, 101 Giannini Hall,
College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA