Carol L. Cheatham, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychology & Neuroscience
An important member of the UNC Nutrition Research Institute’s research team, Carol L. Cheatham, PhD, focuses on how nutrition can improve children’s brain function. Specifically, her team studies the importance of nutrients for the development of memory and attention abilities.
Broadly defined, Dr. Cheatham’s research focuses on the relationship between an individual’s genome and the metabolism of nutrients, and how this leads to differences in cognitive and social development. Specifically, she is interested in the development of memory and attention as they are the basis for learning, and therefore school readiness. For example, her research asks if the supplementation of children’s diets with omega-3 fatty acids have an effect on their memory abilities over a determined period of time. Many different methods and tools are used in the Cheatham lab to assess abilities, including taking turns with the children building unique toys and the use of special equipment to read their brain activity while they are watching pictures on a computer screen.
“Dr. Cheatham is an expert on the importance of omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) for normal brain development,” said NRI Director Steven Zeisel, MD, PhD, “This is an exciting and promising area of research that is changing the way women eat during pregnancy and lactation.”