|Died||November 30, 1993 (aged 59)|
|Alma mater||Wisconsin State College, Platteville (BS)|
University of Wisconsin–Madison (MS, PhD)
|Home town||Platteville, Wisconsin, US|
|Awards||Borden Award (1973)|
|Institutions||University of Nebraska–Lincoln|
|Academic advisors||Hellen Linkswiler|
Constance V. Kies (1934 – November 30, 1993) was an American nutrition scientist and dietitian. Kies worked as a public school teacher for three years before going against the traditional gender norms of her time and competing an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Over the duration of her 30-year career at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Kies researched nutritional biochemistry. She demonstrated relationships between minerals, proteins, and dietary fiber through pioneering human subject research. Her findings led to advancements in human knowledge of copper and protein metabolism. She was honored with the Borden Award and was a fellow of the American College of Nutrition. Kies was as a feminist and a member of the National Organization for Women and the Women's Equity Action League. She died of uterine cancer three months after her diagnosis.
Early life and education
Kies was born in 1934 in Blue River, Wisconsin. Her mother had been an educator and her father was superintendent of the school system. As a child her family, including Kies and her three sisters, moved to a farm in Platteville, Wisconsin. She was the valedictorian at her graduation from Platteville High School. Kies attended Wisconsin State College, Platteville, where she earned a Regents Fellowship and other academic honors. In 1955, she completed a B.S. in English with minors in history, geography, library science, and home economics. After graduation, Kies worked as a public school teacher for three years. During this period, Kies determined that she had become an educator because of traditional gender norms. Kies saved money for graduate school and studied human physiology while she continued teaching. She earned an M.S. in foods and nutrition in 1960 and a Ph.D. in human nutrition and medical physiology in 1963 from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her master's thesis was titled "Studies in Urinary Nitrogen Excretion". Kies' dissertation was titled "Effect of Essential to Non-essential Amino Acid Relationships in Adult Man and in the Rat".
As a graduate researcher, Kies worked in the laboratories of Hellen Linkswiler and May Reynolds in the department of home economics. She was a research assistant tasked with managing the nutrition program's "diet squads" of research participants in metabolic studies. She also worked as a part-time dietitian at the Wisconsin General Hospital. Her research focused on nonspecific nitrogen including "nitrogen from any metabolically usable, nontoxic source such as nonessential amino acids, excess essential amino acids or nonprotein sources such as urea or diammonium citrate."
After completing her doctorate, Kies joined the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) in 1963 as an assistant professor in the department of food and nutrition. She was promoted to associate professor in 1965 and full professor in 1968. She would remain at Lincoln for the remainder of her 30-year career. Her investigations focused on nutritional biochemistry. Throughout her career, Kies was a prolific writer. In 1965, she published her first paper in the Journal of Nutrition. Kies published thirteen papers in that journal. Her work can be found in other journals including The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Federation Proceedings and the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. She wrote over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and authored books and chapters about minerals and plant proteins. Kies organized national iron, calcium, and copper-related conferences. She later edited monographs of these conferences. Kies reported in 1974 that she spent 70% of her time researching at the UNL Experiment Station with the rest of her time devoted to teaching nutrition courses. She also participated in women's issues, serving as coordinator of the UNL class on "Women in Contemporary Society." In 1974, she was the advisor for the UNL Women's Resource Center and the University Women's Action Group. Kies identified as a feminist and was a member of the National Organization for Women and the Women's Equity Action League. In her experience, she witnessed more discrimination against women in academia and research than in the commercial sector. She found that a large issue in addressing these problems lay in difficulties changing unconscious discrimination. Kies also believed that women in home economics are not always taken as seriously by academics in other disciplines due to gender bias.
Kies became a well-known researcher who attended numerous domestic and international conferences. In 1987, Kies received a distinguished visiting faculty award from the Ministry of Health of the People's Republic of China through which she worked with the Ministry and the Department of Food Hygiene at Shandong University. In China, she taught the methodology of conducting human metabolic studies. Kies recruited several Chinese students to pursue their education in the United States. In 1989, she was the editor of Copper Bioavailability and Metabolism. Kies co-edited the 1995 book, Sports Nutrition: Minerals and Electrolytes with scientist and author Judy Driskell. Kies was a member of the American Institute of Nutrition, the American Dietetic Association, the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Oil Chemists' Society, the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, and the Society for Nutrition Education. She was a certified home economist and a registered dietitian. During her career at Lincoln, served as the major professor for approximately 173 M.S. students and 32 Ph.D. students. Kies continued advising students after her August 1993 uterine cancer diagnosis. She died in Lincoln, Nebraska, on November 30, 1993, at the age of 59. She was cremated and her ashes were placed in her family's plot in Platteville, Wisconsin. Kies was survived by her sisters, Cosette Kies, Camilla Chasteen, and Carolyn Kies. Services were held at the home economics auditorium on UNL's East Campus.
Kies' early research was in amino acids and nitrogen excretion, following in the footsteps of Ruth M. Leverton. Kies and Leverton's advancements in the understanding of protein metabolism stemmed from their research studies. Both investigators were pioneers in their use of human subjects to study nutrients and their interactions through controlled feeding studies where research participants lived in university live-in facilities alongside nonparticipants. Kies' laboratory participants were international. In exchange for housing, American and international students participated in feeding studies that involved controlled diets and the collection of urine and stool samples. Her research found that the need for protein, essential amino acids, and minerals did not vary among the races, or by sex or ethnicity. Kies did find that plasma lipoproteins and lipids varied among races with Asian women having higher values. The controlled feeding studies cost $10,000 per participant and were funded by the NU Agricultural Experiment Station and the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Kies conducted five to six of these studies a year.
In 1973, Kies' work in the agronomy program entailed testing the nutritional value of new lines of wheat developed by plant breeders. Food and nutrition department chair Hazel Metz Fox remarked at the time that Kies was a "creative researcher who is equally at home in either basic or applied research." Kies' research emphasis in 1973 explored human nutritional requirements and the nutritional value of processed foods. She researched the nutritional needs of children with Fox. Focusing on preschool-aged children, they studied the urine levels of creatinine, nitrogen, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. They also compared differences between low and high-income children. In 1974, Kies' research interest included human nutrient requirements and the interrelationships of these nutrients. A secondary research interest was the nutritional knowledge and attitudes held by different population groups. With her college Fox, she researched the nutrition knowledge and attitudes of wheat and beef producers in Nebraska.
By 1987, she had investigated the nutrition of meat and cereal products for ten years. From 1983 to 1987, Kies focused on trace minerals such as manganese. Her research suggested that many Americans, especially women, did not consume enough manganese. Kies' findings corroborated those of biologist Paul Saltman. Both Kies and Saltman's research suggested that manganese-deficient diets resulted in progressively weaker bones in both animals and humans. In 1989, Kies led a study on human nutrition in bottle-fed and breast-fed babies. The department was specifically analyzing the manganese, "potassium, and sodium levels in diabetic and non-diabetic mothers and in their infants." This involved collecting nearly 2,000 dirty diapers a day. This "dirty diaper" study first began at the University of Nebraska Omaha but later moved to the East Campus at UNL. Kies continued to research nitrogen balance investigating urea as a nitrogen source for ruminants. Her research revealed that it could be used in humans to maintain a nitrogen balance. Applying her findings, Kies uncovered that "feeding idealized patterns of essential amino acids in protein-free or parenteral feedings" could reduce high levels of blood urea nitrogen in patients. Related to this, Kies "hypothesized that uremic patients could use endogenous urea as a source of nitrogen for the synthesis of nonessential amino acids." She found that protein quantity was just as important as protein quality. Kies shifted from researching nonspecific nitrogen to internutrient metabolism. She was most interested in the relationships between minerals, dietary fiber, and fat. Her laboratory examined hemicellulose, cellulose, and pectin. They found that hemicellulose increased the levels of zinc, copper, and magnesium in fecal excretions. She also found that supplementing hemicellulose improved urinary excretion of vitamin C. Kies discovered that pectin and zinc decreased urinary excretion of vitamin C. Her later research explored the relationship between dietary fat and mineral absorption. She found that absorbing iron, zinc, and manganese decreased "when dietary cholesterol and fat were also reduced. She also found that consuming dietary fiber reduced total and LDL-cholesterol. Kies also investigated copper metabolism. She found that calcium supplements increased copper absorption while magnesium, selenium, and potassium decreased it. She also demonstrated that phytates, tannins, and dietary fiber inhibited dietary copper utilization.
Awards and honors
Kies received the Borden Award and $1,000 from the American Home Economics Association in 1973 in recognition of her research in the field of nutrition and experimental foods. She was honored with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's alumni award in 1974. In 1983, Kies won the Outstanding Research Award from Ross Laboratories. In 1986, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Chemical Society. She became a fellow of the American College of Nutrition in 1989. Also in 1989, she received the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award from the College of Home Economics. She was nominated for the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award by the College of Home Economics in 1989, 1990, and 1991.
- Hampl, Jeffrey S.; Schnepf, Marilynn I. (1998). "Constance V. Kies (1934–1993)". The Journal of Nutrition. 128 (10): 1597–1599. doi:10.1093/jn/128.10.1597. ISSN 0022-3166.
- "Deaths". Chemical & Engineering News Archive. 72 (3): 39. 1994. doi:10.1021/cen-v072n003.p039. ISSN 0009-2347.
- Kies, Constance (1960). Studies in urinary nitrogen excretion (Thesis). University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- Kies, Constance (1963). Effect of Essential to Non-essential Amino Acid Relationships in Adult Man and in the Rat. University of Wisconsin-Madison. OCLC 608509770.
- "UNL Professor Gets $1,000 Award". Lincoln Journal Star. 1973-06-28. p. 10. Archived from the original on 2019-11-15. Retrieved 2019-11-15 – via Newspapers.com.
- "UNL Research Is Also Feminist". The Lincoln Star. 1974-08-20. p. 17. Retrieved 2019-11-19 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Nutrition research at university keeps consumer interests in mind". Sioux City Journal. 1974-08-05. p. 5. Retrieved 2019-11-22 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Food professor Constance Kies dies at age 59". The Lincoln Star. 1993-12-03. p. 26. Archived from the original on 2019-11-15. Retrieved 2019-11-15 – via Newspapers.com.
- Kies, Constance, ed. (1990). Copper Bioavailability and Metabolism. Boston, Massachusetts: Springer US. ISBN 9781461305378. OCLC 840280990.
- Cross, Nanna (November 1995). "Review". Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Chicago, Illinois. 95 (11): 1346. ISSN 0002-8223.
- "Anyone for a Hamburger". The Lincoln Star. 1974-12-02. p. 8. Archived from the original on 2019-11-15. Retrieved 2019-11-15 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Study links weakened bone condition to deficiency of met, milk in the diet". Longview News-Journal. 1987-04-15. p. 25. Retrieved 2019-11-20 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Nebraska researchers promise moms a change for the wetter". The Burlington Free Press. 1989-06-13. p. 42. Retrieved 2019-11-20 – via Newspapers.com.
- Roth, Mary Kay (1989-06-12). "Researchers want 2,000 dirty diapers". The Lincoln Star. p. 14. Retrieved 2019-11-20 – via Newspapers.com.