Dorothy Mackerras obtained her PhD in epidemiology in the United States and is well known in Australia for her expertise in nutritional epidemiology and dietary methods. After returning to Australia, she lectured in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney for some years. During her 10 years at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, she became one of the Chief Investigators of the Aboriginal Birth Cohort Study, the longest running Indigenous cohort in the world. This study was the first to show that iodine deficiency existed in populations living in northern Australia prior to mandatory fortification of bread with iodine; previously iodine deficiency was thought to affect only those living in the south-east of the Australian continent. Five years ago, Professor Mackerras moved to Canberra to take up the newly created position of Chief Public Health Nutrition Advisor at Food Standards Australia New Zealand.