The UNC Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis, NC is continuing growth trends, demonstrating an increasing level of activity and development. One example of this growth is internationally-renowned researcher and accomplished author, Martin Kohlmeier, M.D., Ph.D., who is relocating to Kannapolis to join the NRI team.
Dr. Kohlmeier brings with him an impressive professional resume. He earned doctorates in medicine, biochemistry and clinical biochemistry from Heidelberg University and Freie Universität, Berlin, has authored a comprehensive textbook on nutrient metabolism, and is the lead author of numerous online nutrition courses for healthcare professionals. In addition to his new role as faculty and primary investigator in the NRI Nutrigenetics Laboratory, Dr. Kohlmeier will maintain his appointment as a Research Professor with the Department of Nutrition, UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Medicine and School of Public Health.
Dedicated to helping the public benefit from the recent advancements in genetics and nutrition, Dr. Kohlmeier explains, “We can now read the body’s DNA blueprint down to very fine details and I want to help translate this knowledge into practical directions for people’s health. For instance, I am currently developing software that can take detailed genetic information and tell consumers which foods are healthiest for them.”
Dr. Kohlmeier is now developing ways to reduce breast cancer risk by using genetic research to guide food selections. “I want to find out whether we can help each individual navigate safely their daily food choices and how that might affect cancer risk.”
Recognizing the trends toward online education, Dr. Kohlmeier has developed a website that can help tailor personalized nutrition plans, based on user and health professional’s input. With this data, the site suggests daily menu plans that meet personal needs.
The website is now available for pilot testing by health professionals who leverage it to generate menu plans. Ultimately, consumers will be able to use this online tool to shape their diet patterns. Also, the tool will be used in long-term trials of personalized nutrition plans for the prevention of cancer and other major diseases.
This and other medical nutrition education online programs by Dr. Kohlmeier have proven to be very successful for physicians. Dr. Kohlmeier explains, “About 25% of all US medical students currently use our programs, and more than 150 universities worldwide.”
Notably, Dr. Kohlmeier authored Nutrient Metabolism, a textbook describing how the body handles about one hundred important compounds in food, from alcohol to zinc, and back from zeaxanthin to arsenic. The textbook outlines the major food sources of these compounds, and additional related information, such as our chemical senses, appetite and thirst, and the nutrient path from food to the using body part.
The strength of the book is that a rich collection of information on each of the food ingredients is easily accessible in one place, making it a powerful resource for researchers, health professionals, and anyone needing nutrition facts at their fingertips.
Dr. Steven Zeisel, Director of the NRI, shares, “Dr. Kohlmeier is one of the world’s leaders in laboratory diagnostics, nutritional genetics and use of technology for nutritional education. He brings more than thirty years experience to the NRI, and he will contribute a significant amount of research leadership to the Institute.”
Dr. Kohlmeier is equally eager to begin his contribution to the NRI, stating, “The NRI offers an exciting opportunity to use state-of-the-art technology, collaborate with world-class researchers and share a focus on individualized nutrition.”
You can help make a difference
With each new researcher that joins the NRI team, the benefits to future public health are exponential. To recruit top-flight researchers like Dr. Kohlmeier and build the world’s next premier institute for scientific discovery, the NRI must compete with other science centers and universities. Visiting scholar programs, endowed professorships, and competitive research funds that attract distinguished scientists to the NRI are made possible by the generous gifts of friends and supporters.
If you are interested in helping the NRI recruit great scientists from around the world, click here to learn about ways you can help make a difference.