Bess Dawson-Hughes

Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD

(617) 556-3066
Research/Areas of Interest:

Dietary and hormonal determinants of bone and muscle mass and function


  • MD, Tufts University School of Medicine


Dr. Bess Dawson-Hughes, Senior Scientist and Director of the Bone Metabolism Team at the HNRCA, is internationally renowned for her research regarding bone health. As an endocrinologist, her research interests include metabolic bone disease, the acid-base balance of the diet, calcium and vitamin D nutrition, and prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. She currently serves as General Secretary of the International Osteoporosis Foundation and was past President and Trustee of the National Osteoporosis Foundation (USA). Dr. Dawson-Hughes has authored more than 450 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and reviews. Recently, she and her collaborators discovered that an alkaline diet is associated with greater lean tissue mass in older adults. The team also identified that low vitamin D levels in the body are associated with impaired cognitive function and that the absorption of vitamin D supplements is enhanced when taken with a meal. Dr. Dawson-Hughes’s current projects include researching the impact of supplemental vitamin D on vitamin D levels in the blood as well as bone material strength in people with normal blood sugar and elevated blood sugar. She is a Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and the Founding Director of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) that develops and oversees research on the international space station. Dr. Dawson-Hughes is on the editorial boards of BoneOsteoporosis International and Calcified Tissue International and is General Secretary for the International Osteoporosis Foundation. She has served as Associate Editor of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research and as Principle Investigator of the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Disease National Resource Center, Washington, D.C. Among her many awards, Dr. Dawson-Hughes has received the Bolton L. Corson Medal for Research from the Benjamin Franklin Institute, International Osteoporosis Foundation’s President's Award in 2012, NOF Lawrence G. Raisz Memorial Lecture Award in 2014, Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Scientist in 2014, and the International Institute for Nutrition and Bone Health Research Award in 2015.

Board Certification in Internal Medicine