The UNC Nutrition Research Institute is pleased to announce it is the recipient of a $110,000 scholarship from Balchem Corporation.  This gift creates the Balchem Scholarship, a three-year award that supports a doctoral student working in the area of choline metabolism.
Dr. Steven Zeisel, NRI Director, appreciatively explains, “Partners like Balchem are critical to our research and to our success in generating ground-breaking discoveries.    Future advances in public health and nutrition are dependent upon strong partnerships like this one.  The UNC Nutrition Research Institute leads innovation in the area of nutrition and genetics, and the gift from Balchem will enable us to continue this important work and to train the next generation of researchers in this field.”
The UNC Nutrition Research Institute is pleased to award Amy Johnson the Balchem Scholarship for 2010.  Johnson, a doctoral student in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health’s nutrition department, is working on her thesis research on choline — a nutrient found in milk and eggs that plays a critical role in brain and liver function, and Ms. Johnson’s work shows that it is important for sperm function as well.
Johnson adds that she is grateful to be able to continue her efforts as the Balchem Scholar.  She has made significant progress, and is looking forward to furthering her research.   Ultimately, her goal is to make discoveries that will translate into practical applications and potentially improve the nutritional value of everyday foods.
Balchem is an industry leader, manufacturing choline used by the food industry to fortify foods such as nutritional drinks, cereals, breads, yogurts, nutrient bars, frozen foods and supplements. Dr. Paul Richardson, Vice President, R&D, Balchem, said the company believes the NRI’s research will provide important information about appropriate uses for choline by the food industry.  Dr. Richardson states, “Balchem Corporation is excited to make a positive impact on future generations by supporting choline research at the NRI and its continued innovation through top-ranked researchers.”
The UNC Nutrition Research Institute, led by Dr. Zeisel, studies nutritional individuality by conducting research in the areas of nutrigenomics and metabolomics.  The research of the Nutrition Research Institute will make possible individualized nutrition recommendations designed to optimize personal health for a longer and more fruitful life that is free of disease.
“Relations between diet and our genes have become important components of research that could change clinical practice in nutrition,” explains Dr. Zeisel.  “Investments made today, such as the research of Amy Johnson through the Balchem Scholarship, could ensure a new foundation for clinical nutrition in the future.”
About NRI
The UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI), part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is located on the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis.  The NRI is dedicated to developing the field of individualized nutrition  —  understanding variance in people’s DNA, metabolism and nutrient requirements and how this impacts health.  Long term, the NRI’s discoveries will lead to individually tailored nutrition recommendations that will allow people to customize their diets in order to maximize wellness and reduce risk of disease.
About Balchem
Founded in 1967, Balchem provides state-of-the-art solutions and the finest quality products for a range of industries worldwide. The company consists of three business segments: ARC Specialty Products; Food, Pharma and Nutrition; and Animal Nutrition and Health. Balchem employs over 300 people worldwide who are engaged in many diverse activities, developing our company into chosen market leadership positions.