Dr. Martin-Paul Agbaga Is a Leading Researcher in Vision Science
Dr. Maya Maroto Is a Leader in Public Health and Food Equity
The Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) welcomes Martin-Paul Agbaga, PhD and Maya Maroto, EdD, MPH, RDN as the newest members of its Scientific Nutrition Advisory Council (SNAC). The 16-member Science Council, formed in 2013, is composed of the world’s leading researchers united passionately around seafood as critical for the health of all Americans. Agbaga is a leading researcher in the role of omega-3 fatty acids in maintaining retinal structure and function. Maroto brings a strong nutrition education and public policy background with dedication to providing equitable access to nutritious food.
“We’re excited to have Dr. Agbaga and Dr. Maroto join the Science Council, bringing thought leadership and experience in eye health, food equity and nutrition policy to the team,” said Tom Brenna, PhD, chair of the SNP SNAC and a leading omega-3 researcher. “The strong seafood science produced by the SNAC is a foundation on which the uniquely healthy aspects of the seafood story can be built.”
Agbaga’s long-term research interest is in understanding the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in maintaining retinal structure, function and health. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially fish oil derived omega-3 fatty acids such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), are highly enriched in retinal tissue membranes where they are key to visual function. His research team discovered that seafood nutrients support vision and brain metabolism by providing unique structural fats. Individual genetics and aging can compromise use of these critical fatty acids, leading to a decline in vision. His current research is focused on developing treatment options for inherited and age-related macular degeneration using dietary means. Agbaga is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology, Dean McGee Eye Institute, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Maroto currently serves as Vice President of Federal, State, and Municipal Partnerships at the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), working to cultivate partnerships with government entities to expand PHA’s current and future programs in pursuit of food equity. She has held positions at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service where she managed award-winning nationwide nutrition education and outreach initiatives. Maroto is an adjunct professor of nutrition science at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
“Seafood is crucial to keeping Americans and the planet healthy,” said Linda Lai Cornish, President of SNP. “The Scientific Nutrition Advisory Council is the backbone of Seafood Nutrition Partnership’s science-driven guiding principle. Strong seafood science gives confidence and credibility to the seafood sector, including retailers and restaurants, to tout the important health benefits of fish and shellfish to consumers.”
Seafood Nutrition Partnership has been working to ensure Americans have access to and can eat seafood at least twice a week for many reasons. Seafood is a complete protein that has essential and unique nutrients other foods don’t provide. Because fish and shellfish are rich in omega-3s, vitamins, and minerals, we consider seafood a nutritional powerhouse. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA + DHA found in seafood support eye health, brain health, heart health, and overall wellness. This is why prominent organizations such as American Heart Association, World Health Organization, and Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating seafood at least twice a week.
Seafood helps support your family’s health. Pregnant women who eat seafood at least twice a week have babies with higher IQs with an average gain of about 7.7 IQ points. Kids who eat seafood feel calmer and have a better ability to focus, which helps them do better in school. Seafood has even been proven to reduce stress and anxiety and also promotes improved sleep.
Seafood Nutrition Partnership is a charitable non-profit that is inspiring Americans to be healthier through a seafood-rich diet. SNP provides a variety of scientific resources, recipes, coupons, and more on its website.