What We’re Learning about Mom’s Nutrition and Alcohol

Dr. Phil May’s research group at the NRI studies the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in humans. The recent addition to the NRI faculty of Dr. Susan Smith now provides an avenue toward understanding how maternal nutrition might affect the relationship between alcohol and FASD through the use of animal models. Two recent papers from these research groups illustrates this synergy.
While there is convincing evidence that drinking alcohol during pregnancy is harmful to the developing fetus, much less is known about the risks of drinking during breastfeeding. In “Everyone Drink Up: This holiday season, there is no reason to pump and dump,” the author argues that the blood alcohol level of a nursing baby would be minimal, even if the mother had recently consumed several glasses of wine (where minimal is defined as equal to the baby drinking 1.5 ounces of beer).
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Renowned Scientist Joins Nutrition Research Institute

Susan Sumner, PhD joined the UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) on December 1, 2016, as a Professor of Nutrition. Dr. Sumner is working to make personalized medicine a reality through metabolomics. Metabolomics involves measuring thousands of metabolites in cells, tissues, and biological fluids. This approach can provide a more comprehensive view of an individuals’ metabolism than the limited measurements (such as glucose and cholesterol) that doctors employ today. Using metabolomics, Dr. Sumner assesses differences in the metabolic profile of individuals that correlate with states of wellness or disease. She is also conducting laboratory studies to identify responses to treatment in areas such as obesity, drug-induced liver injury, infectious disease, and reproductive and developmental biology.

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Appetite For Life

Appetite for Life returns in January 2017 with a new line-up of speakers and presentations in nutrition research. Presentations are in Kannapolis and Charlotte. Mark your calendar today so you don’t miss any of these free, public events!
January 17 – Martin Kohlmeier, M.D., Ph.D.
Gluten, Lactose Intolerance, Allergens, Oh My!
Making complex nutrition science digestible
We all have our own nutritional needs because we are different in so many ways. Gender, age, body size, physical activity, genomic variation, gut microbiome and many other factors determine which dietary patterns and lifestyles work for us individually. The greatest challenge is to translate the vast amounts of nutrition knowledge into practical action. How do you know your personal targets for nutrients, food types and lifestyle behaviors? How do you know which food combinations meet those targets? At the NRI, we have developed an innovative online application to support making good food choices based on your individual needs. Martin Kohlmeier, M.D., Ph.D., creator of this online tool will explain how the application calculates your total energy intake and, based on your individual nutrition targets, acceptable ranges and weighting factors, determines key nutrients and food groups best for you. [learn more]
2017 Schedule
February 16 – Robyn Amos-Kroohs, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, NRI, on why we crave food that isn’t good for us
March 16 – Cooking for Nourishment at Johnson & Wales University
April 18 – Grant Canipe, Graduate Student, NRI on nutrition and cognitive aging
May 9 – Cooking for Nourishment at Johnson & Wales University

Festive Kale Salad

Designed by: Chef Megan Lambert,Senior Instructor at Johnson & Wales University, Charlotte, NC.

  • 1-2 bunches fresh kale or mustard greens
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2-4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pecan pieces, lightly toasted


  1. Thoroughly wash the greens in several changes of water.
  2. Remove stems. Cut the greens into thin ribbons and place into a plastic zipper bag.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, salt and pepper to make the dressing.
  4. Add the dressing to the bag. Seal the bag up tight and squeeze the extra air out of the bag.
  5. Massage the dressing into the greens for a few minutes. Really squeeze and mix the greens.
  6. The greens should turn darker in color and become softened, almost like cooked greens.
  7. Place kale into serving bowl and garnish with the cranberries, pecans, and green onions.

Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics, and Precision Nutrition

The UNC Nutrition Research Institute and the UNC Nutrition and Obesity Research Center present a workshop on Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics and Precision Nutrition.
May 22-25, 2017 • Kannapolis, NC
This short course is designed for graduate students, health professionals and nutrition scientists from academia and industry. The workshop-style course will provide the fundamental concepts of nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics and personalized nutrition through cutting-edge presentations and hands-on experiences. Attendees will be afforded the opportunity to participate in a personal DNA test and examine their own nutrigenetic data. [learn more]


  • General: $800.00
  • Graduate Student: $300.00
  • Postdoctoral Fellow: $400.00

Fee (all-inclusive) includes shared housing, shuttle bus and meals, as well as your personal DNA test. A personal DNA test is only provided if you register before March 15 and are a US resident. Registrations after this date will be provided a standardized sample. 
Registration Now Open.