Saroja Voruganti, PhD

Director of Human Research Core Lab, Associate Professor of Nutrition

Dr. Saroja Voruganti, Associate Professor of Nutrition, is working on building a nationally and internationally recognized research program in nutritional genomics at UNC. A unique field, nutritional genomics seeks to identify genetic susceptibility to diseases, effect of genetic variation on nutrient metabolism and the effect of nutrients on gene expression. She has extensively investigated the interplay between nutritional and genetic factors influencing disease risk in ethnically diverse populations, especially minority populations such as Mexican American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Parsi Zoroastrian and Hispanic children populations. Her research is focused on uncovering new connections between genetics, nutrition, and epidemiology that can lead to more accurate determination disease risk and new treatment options for metabolic diseases. The key areas of her research program include:

  • Gene-nutrient interactions affecting purine metabolism and related neurodegenerative diseases
  • Genetic and environmental factors affecting complex diseases such as obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes in ethnically diverse populations

 

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At UNC Chapel Hill, she teaches graduate courses, “Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics” and “Introduction to Nutritional Epidemiology”. At UNC NRI, she conducts an annual workshop-style course that covers the fundamental concepts of nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics and personalized nutrition. In addition to presentations by experts, the course includes hands-on analysis of genetic data using the latest tools.

She is the co-Director of Precision Nutrition Core at the Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC), UNC Chapel Hill. In this role, she is working towards implementing a comprehensive support system for nutrigenomic & nutrigenetic research, including individualized consultation and advising of researchers, with the long-term goal of enabling a better understanding of the effects of interaction between lifestyle and genotypes on health and disease. She is presently serving as an Associate Editor of the Frontiers in Genetics and Frontiers in Nutrition journals and is a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA).

She earned her Ph.D. in Nutrition from The University of Texas at Austin in 2005. She did her post-doctoral training and subsequently was a Staff Scientist at Texas Biomedical Research Institute. Dr. Voruganti joined the faculty at UNC NRI and Department of Nutrition at UNC Chapel Hill in 2013 and was promoted to Associate Professor in October 2019. She has published extensively, including 120 research articles (13 as senior author and 20 as first author) with 30 articles in top tier journals.

Voruganti’s Team

Lauren Roppolo Brazell

Lauren Roppolo Brazell

Data Analyst

lroppolo@unc.edu
704-250-5055

Baba Mass

Baba Mass

Research Technician

bmass@live.unc.edu
(704) 250-5055

Adam Hipp

Adam Hipp

Data Analyst

adam_hipp@unc.edu
704-250-5055

Brea Correll Nance

Brea Correll Nance

Research Technician

brea_correll@unc.edu
704-250-5055

Ketan Joglekar

Ketan Joglekar

Research Technician

k10j@unc.edu
(704) 250-5055

Kendra Lynn Nelson

Kendra Lynn Nelson

Graduate Student

klnelson@live.unc.edu
(704) 250-5060

Faustina Jeyaraj

Faustina Jeyaraj

Doctoral Student

ftherase@ad.unc.edu
(704) 250-5060

Publications

2020

Genetic variants affecting bone mineral density and bone mineral content at multiple skeletal sites in Hispanic children.

 

2019

Fine mapping and identification of serum urate loci in American Indians: The Strong Heart Family Study.

Heterogeneity in Metabolic Responses to Dietary Fructose.

Genetic analysis of hsCRP in American Indians: The Strong Heart Family Study.

A trans-ancestral meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies reveals loci associated with childhood obesity.

Healthy dietary patterns and risk and survival of breast cancer: a meta-analysis of cohort studies.

Duodenal adipose tissue is associated with obesity in baboons (Papio sp): a novel site of ectopic fat deposition in non-human primates.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Genome-Wide Interaction Analyses Reveal DPP10-Pulmonary Function Association.

 

2018

Nutritional Genomics of Cardiovascular Disease.

Genetic determinants of BMI from early childhood to adolescence: the Santiago Longitudinal Study.

Genetic Variants Related to Cardiometabolic Traits Are Associated to B Cell Function, Insulin Resistance, and Diabetes Among AmeriCan Indians: The Strong Heart Family Study.

Meta-analysis across Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) consortium provides evidence for an association of serum vitamin D with pulmonary function.

Serum Lipid Concentrations and FADS Genetic Variants in Young Mexican College Students: The UP-AMIGOS Cohort Study.

Arsenic-gene interactions and beta-cell function in the Strong Heart Family Study.

Diet-induced early-stage atherosclerosis in baboons: Lipoproteins, atherogenesis, and arterial compliance.

 

2017

Exome sequencing reveals novel genetic loci influencing obesity-related traits in Hispanic children.

Changes in Cerebral Blood Flow during an Alteration in Glycemic State in a Large Non-human Primate (Papio hamadryas sp.).

Genetic variation underlying renal uric acid excretion in Hispanic children: the Viva La Familia Study.

 

2016

Comparison of 2 models for gene-environment interactions: an example of simulated gene-medication interactions on systolic blood pressure in family-based data.

Genome-wide association of trajectories of systolic blood pressure change.