The recent transfer of state-of-the-art scientific instrumentation from Catawba College to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute (NRI), located at the North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC) in Kannapolis, is part of a partnership between the two institutions. These instruments will expand research capabilities for NRI scientists while offering Catawba students real-life lab experience in developing applications that impact human health. The equipment, valued at approximately $222,000, will be utilized at the NRI for scientific research related to “individualized nutrition” — understanding how metabolism and nutrition requirements differ from person to person. NRI researchers focus on discovery of nutrition-based solutions to overcome health challenges such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity, and to promote optimal brain development.
“This partnership will make it possible for us to expand our research and continue our work helping people treat or prevent disease and live healthier, fuller lives.” said Steven Zeisel, M.D., Ph.D., and Director of the NRI.
“Currently we are able to measure small amounts molecules of blood, and with this equipment we’ll be able to measure proteins such as insulin,” said Dr. Zeisel. “Combining the two measurements will give us a more specific understanding of metabolism.”
“This joint effort creates an opportunity for students to work on projects that could change how we understand the role of nutrition and health. And for us, it’s a teaching opportunity that increases our capacity to measure things that we couldn’t see before.”
Brien Lewis, J.D., President of Catawba College, and member of the NRI Board of Advisors, said, “Catawba College is delighted to enhance our partnership with the UNC NRI in this way. Our students continue to benefit tremendously from opportunities at the NRI and we look forward to expanding our collaborations in the months and years to come.”
“NCRC has access and ties to a great community of learners and, like Catawba College, has established strong partnerships with all stakeholders in the community – including the academic community, local schools and educators, area industry, existing partnerships and national initiatives in the analytical science communities,” said Mark Sabo, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Chemistry, and Director of the Catawba Analytical Research Laboratory.
“Partnering with the NCRC provides our students an opportunity to do research in the sciences at a world-class facility and allows students to utilize state-of-the-art instrumentation and learn modern laboratory techniques. These experiences at NCRC are extremely important and provide valuable skills needed to excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.”
A private donor gift to the NRI facilitated the equipment transport from Catawba College in Salisbury to the NRI facility. Additional financial support is needed to purchase computers, software and accessories so that the equipment will be fully functional.