our experts

Laura Harkness, Ph.D., RD, FACN

Dietitian Nutritionist

Dr. Harkness is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a PhD in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University. She leads Global Research & Development for Health & Wellbeing and Personal Care at Church & Dwight Co., Inc., the maker of vitafusion and L’il Critters #1 gummy vitamin brands. She is a nutrition expert with over 30 years of experience in the field and is passionate about food and nutrition. Dr. Harkness specializes in health and wellness innovation, nutrition research, and communication.

Earlier in her career, Dr. Harkness was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Nutrition at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland with a research focus on nutrients that are important in bone health. In addition, her career in science and clinical care has encompassed research and providing care for patients in adult and pediatric intensive care, adolescent medicine, gastroenterology, and surgical units.

She is currently an active member of several professional organizations, including the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, American Society of Nutrition, ILSI, and Council for Responsible Nutrition.

In her free time, Dr. Harkness enjoys cooking and running. She is a long time runner and marathoner.

Michael I. McBurney, PhD

Adjunct Professor

Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Tufts University

Boston, MA

Michael I. McBurney, PhD, is Adjunct Professor in the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, MA. Dr. McBurney was formerly Vice President of Science, Communications & Advocacy at DSM Nutritional Products in Parsippany, NJ, where he provided global leadership in developing, implementing, and executing nutrition science and communication strategies. He was founding Dept Head of the Dept of Nutrition and Food Science at Texas A&M University in College Station, TX, and has held academic appointments at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, and Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. Dr. McBurne has published over 86 peer-reviewed papers, 10 book chapters, 36 proceedings and letters, 103 technical abstracts, and almost 1000 blog posts (www.TalkingNutrition.DSM.com).

Dr. McBurney is an active volunteer with leadership experience in the American Society for Nutrition, Institute for Food Technologists, International Food Information Council Foundation, International Life Science Institute, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Canadian Nutrition Society, and New York Academy of Science. He served as Founding Advisory Board Member of the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes within the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Dr. McBurney is an industry representative (nonvoting member) of the Food Advisory Committe of the US Food and Drug Administration and chairs the External Advisory Board of the Division of Nutrition Sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He is a member of The National Association jf Science Writers™, Inc.

Dr. McBurney received his BS in biology (ecology) from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, and his MS and PhD in nutrition from Cornell University. His accreditations include professional mediation (Texas Mediation Trainers Roundtable) and Executive Leadership I (IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland).

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD

Nutrition Communications Consultant

Atlanta, GA

Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, has been the Nutrition Director of the number one health and wellness website since 2002. In 2016, Ms Zelman was named Contributing Editor to Food & Nutrition Magazine® of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (the Academy). In addition, she served as Nutrition Expert for United HealthCare Services, Inc.’s Source4Women® from 2009 to 2017.

Ms Zelman has been the recipient of a number of awards and honors, including: the Lenna Frances Cooper Memorial Lecture Award for her distinguished career and remarkable contributions to the dietetics profession, and the Media Excellence Award for her contribution and commitment to educating consumers about food and nutrition, both from Academy; the Nutrition Science Media Award for outstanding science and nutrition journalism from the American Society for Nutrition; the Media Award for Excellence in Consumer Journalism from the Institute of Food Technologists; and the Distinguished Alumni Award from Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. She has extensive media experience, including cohosting a weekly radio program for 4 years, serving 12 years as a national spokesperson for the Academy, over a thousand print and television appearances, and co-authoring several books.

Ms Zelman has been invited speaker at professional meetings worldwide, including sharing the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama and US Dept of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack at the launch of MyPlate. She has served as a judge for the James Beard Foundation Awards since 2009, and is also a member of the Health Professional Advisors to the Egg Nutrition Center, the Share Our Strength advisory board, LEAD Network, and the Board of Directors of True Health Initiative. Ms Zelman is active in local, state, and national dietetic associations, serving as Director at Large on the Academy’s Board of Directors and for 2 terms on its House of Delegates, and as a Trustee of the Georgia Dietetic Foundation.

Kathleen Zelman received her BSc from Montclair State University and her MPH from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA.

Lauren Clardy


NutriMarketing Business Group

Roseville, CA

Lauren Clardy leverages 25 years of experience in the nutraceutical industry, specializing in functional ingredients, leading-edge bioactives, science-based nutraceuticals, and new technologies. Ms Clardy is Founder and President of NutriMarketing Business Group, and her company plays a strategic and tactical role in developing, planning, and implementing marketing and commercialization initiatives for market leaders and technology visionaries in the business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets.

Ms Clardy offers core competencies in innovation, strategy, product development, and business intelligence, and helps companies turn new technologies and scientific breakthroughs into winning products and concepts. She is skilled at bridging emerging science from functional ingredients into consumer products, including regulatory, formulation, and commercial aspects. Her clients range from early-stage innovators to market-leading multinationals.

Ms Clardy has launched numerous companies onto the market to become successful new brands in the industry. She currently serves as Vice President of Brands for AIDP Inc, a leading ingredient supplier to the nutritional industry. She is a results-oriented leader known for her versatile skill set and ability to cultivate strategic partnerships. Ms Clardy is a popular speaker for the nutraceutical market as an expert in innovation, and trends in the health and wellness industry. She functions as an advisor to several companies, serves on a number of boards, and is a principal advisory member of Nutrition Capital Network.

Ms. Clardy received her BSc in nutrition from the University of California, Davis, and has pursued postgraduate work in nutrition at Oregon State University in Corvalis, OR.