Primary Areas of Precision Nutrition Research


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NRI principal investigators hold faculty appointments in the departments of Nutrition and Psychology at UNC Chapel Hill. Their research includes studies on the role of nutrients in preventing disease, diet-related health behaviors and risk factors for disease, the effects of the environment and genes on disease outcomes, and the impact of gene-nutrient interactions. For more information about NRI faculty, visit our Faculty Directory.

Research Cores

The NRI houses research cores that offer a wide range of services to researchers. Cores offer shared resources, including cutting-edge technologies, high-end instrumentation, technical support, and education. Our cores are committed to enhancing and expanding the collaborative capabilities of research at our institute, on the North Carolina Research Campus, and throughout the research community.

Read the Latest News

Precision (Personalized) Nutrition: Understanding Metabolic Heterogeneity

February 24, 2020 -People differ in their requirements for and responses to nutrients and bioactive molecules in the diet. Many inputs contribute to metabolic heterogeneity (including variations in genetics, epigenetics, microbiome, lifestyle, diet intake, and environmental exposure).

Nutrition for Dancers @ Piedmont School of Music & Dance

January 22, 2020 – Kaylee Helfrich, a doctoral graduate student in the Smith Lab at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute as well as an accomplished dancer, gave a program on nutrition for dancers at the Piedmont School of Music and Dance in Kannapolis. The recipes from this program are available here for your cooking enjoyment!

Early-Life Predictors of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

January 22, 2020 – The clinical teams at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute and in South Africa led by principal investigator Philip A. May, PhD have published findings of a decade-long effort to drive down the age at which the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) can be made in affected children. The paper, “Early-Life Predictors of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders” is published in Pediatrics.

Important NIH Award for NRI and Partners

December 12, 2019 – Agatha Christie once said, “the first time you do a thing is always exciting.” Well, we’ve had a lot of excitement at the Nutrition Research Institute recently! Two members of the Smith Lab are celebrating becoming first-time first-authors of scientific journal publications.

Training for Scientists

The NRI is a center for precision nutrition training through programs for graduate and medical students, post-doctoral trainees, faculty, practicing physicians and other medical providers, registered dietitians, and industry professionals.

Support the NRI

By donating to the Nutrition Research Institute, your money targets the root of most American disease. Our scientists focus on how our genes respond to food so that soon medical practitioners will be able to guide people in their health from childhood through old age. Our critical research depends on the generosity of people like you.