Orville Levander was a classmate during the many chemistry classes we shared and a good friend. I was very sorry to hear of his passing. The following is a collection of internet references related to his distinguished career.

Larry Wheeler

Orville Levander (1940-2011)

Orville Levander, former Research Leader of the Nutrient Requirements and Functions Laboratory at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, died on December 26, 2011. 

Dr. Levander had a wide-reaching and distinguished career in the field of nutrition. During his career he was affiliated with the University of Wisconsin at Madison, the Institute of Cancer Research, Columbia University, Harvard University School of Public Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and then at the USDA as a Research Chemist. In 1994 he was named Research Leader of the Nutrient Requirements and Functions Laboratory at the Beltsville center. Since 2000 he has devoted his full time to research in this laboratory.

Dr. Levander's primary research interest involved the roles of the dietary antioxidants, selenium and vitamin E, in human nutrition. In 1986, he won the Osborne and Mendel Award of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences for his work on the nutritional bioavailability of selenium from different dietary sources. He had more than 200 publications and his most recent research had to do with the role of oxidative stress in various infections, particularly with the malarial parasite and with the coxsackie and influenza viri. This work has resulted in a new paradigm for the influence of host nutrition on viral disease and will likely be the source of significant insights into the pathogenesis of infectious diseases.

During his career, he held visiting professorships at the University of Otago in New Zealand and Oregon State University. He was named scientist of the year by the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in 1989 and scientist of the year by the Agricultural Research Service in 1997.

He was a native of Waukegan, Ill., and a 1961 graduate of Cornell University. At the University of Wisconsin, he received a master’s degree in biochemistry in 1963 and a doctorate in biochemistry in 1965.

He had Parkinson’s disease, said his wife, Ruth N. Levander. Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Ruth Novelli Levander of Silver Spring; and two children, Ximena A. Levander of New York and Alejandro X. Levander of Berkeley, Calif.