Paul Cotton, Ph.D., RDN

Dr. Paul Cotton

Office of Extramural Research Activities

Dr. Paul Cotton is the Director of NIMHD’s Office of Extramural Research Activities. He advises on and manages science policy and program activities related to extramural administrative management, scientific management, and scientific initiatives, and is responsible for the development and implementation of policies for managing research awards and overseeing research training policies, as well as supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion research initiatives.

Dr. Cotton started his federal career in 2000 as a Category 3 Scientist at the Community Nutrition Research Group in the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Between 2005 and 2014, he served as a program director and team lead at NIH’s National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR). Dr. Cotton previously served as Assistant Division Director in the Division of Receipt and Referral, Center for Scientific Review at NIH from 2014 to 2016.

In 2016, he left NIH and joined the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the research agency for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as the National Program Leader for Public Health Nutrition and served as a Director in the Division of Nutrition, Institute of Food Safety and Nutrition. He provided leadership in applying science-based knowledge to solving complex problems in the food and agricultural sciences.

Dr. Cotton returned to NIH in May 2020 after spending four years with NIFA. His most recent role was the lead program officer for DECIPHeR in the Health Inequities and Global Health Branch in the Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science (CTRIS) at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

Dr. Cotton is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he earned a Bachelor of Science, a Master of Science and a Doctorate in Nutritional Sciences, and also served as a faculty member.

Selected Publications

Pratt, C.A., Brown, A.G.M., Dixit, S., Farmer, N., Natarajan, A., Boyington, J., Shi, S., Lu, Q., & Cotton, P. (2022). Perspectives on Precision Nutrition Research in Heart, Lung, and Blood Diseases and Sleep Disorders. Adv Nutr. 2022 May 13:nmac053. doi:10.1093/advances/nmac053. Online ahead of print.

Brown, A.G.M., Shi, S., Adas, S., Boyington, J.E.A., Cotton, P.A., Jirles, B., Rajapakse, N., Reedy, J., Regan, K., Xi, D., Zappalà, G., & Agurs-Collins, T. A Decade of Nutrition and Health Disparities Research at NIH, 2010-2019. (2022). Am J Prev Med. 2022 Apr 22:S0749-3797(22)00126-X. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2022.02.012. Online ahead of print.

Vorkoper, S., Arteaga, S.S., Berrigan, D., Bialy, K., Bremer, A.A., Cotton, P., Czajkowski, S., Neilson, E., Osganian, S.K., Pratt, C.A., Price, L.S.N., Tabor, D.C., Walker, J.R., Williams, M.J., & Anand N. (2021). Childhood obesity prevention across borders: A National Institutes of Health commentary. Obes Rev. 2021 Jun;22 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):e13243. doi: 10.1111/obr.13243. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Page updated July 19, 2022