Martin Kohlmeier, MD, PhD

Professor of Nutrition

Joining the UNC Nutrition Research Institute in 2010, Dr. Martin Kohlmeier focuses on laboratory diagnostics and nutritional genetics. With more than thirty years of experience in nutrition research, he has developed novel biochemical methods for the assessment of dietary intake and nutrient adequacy. Dr. Kohlmeier’s research explores how to help individuals safely navigate daily food choices and how those choices might affect cancer risk. Dedicated to helping the public benefit from recent advancements in genetics and nutrition, Dr. Kohlmeier uses this new technology to read the body’s DNA blueprint down to very fine details. His goal is to translate this data into practical directions for people’s health.

Currently, he is developing software that can use detailed genetic information to tell consumers which foods are healthiest for them. Notably, Dr. Kohlmeier authored Nutrient Metabolism, a textbook describing how the body handles about one hundred important compounds in food, from alcohol to zinc. 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. Kohlmeier earned doctorates in medicine, biochemistry and clinical biochemistry from Heidelberg University and Freie Universität, Berlin, and is the lead author of numerous online nutrition courses for healthcare professionals. In addition to his role at the UNC NRI, Dr. Kohlmeier maintains his appointment as a Research Professor with the Department of Nutrition, UNC-Chapel Hill, School of Medicine and School of Public Health and is also a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, England.

Kohlmeier’s Team

In the News

NRI’s Kohlmeier Receives Prestigious Award from ASN

The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) and the ASN Foundation, in announcing the 2020 recipients of its scientific achievement awards (senior investigator category), have named Martin Kohlmeier, MD, PhD, the recipient of their Excellence in Nutrition Education Award...

If food is medicine, why isn’t it taught at medical schools?

November 14, 2019 – Students in medical schools across the country spend less than 1 percent of lecture time learning about diet. Earlier this year, Mount Sinai, the biggest hospital network in New York City, invested in a meal delivery service. Though it seemed like an unusual move at the time, the network’s decision makes sense if you consider the intrinsic relationship between food and health—a connection underscored by countless other recent examples of healthcare initiatives that harness diet as a tool to improve well-being.

Kohlmeier Co-edits Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics Textbook

August 20, 2019 – Principles of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics: Fundamentals for Individualized Nutrition is the most comprehensive foundational text on the complex topics of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics. Edited by three leaders in the field with contributions from the most well-cited researchers conducting groundbreaking research in the field, the book covers how the genetic makeup influences the response to foods and nutrients and how nutrients affect gene expression.

What should I eat on my night shift?

June 11, 2019 -Martin Kohlmeier, MD, PhD, director of the Human Research Core at the University of North Carolina’s Nutrition Research Institute, says, “The effect of a disrupted sleep cycle on energy metabolism is real but of modest size. In the end, it’s about the practicalities of food access, convenience, and the time demands of the shift. Planning ahead is your friend.