Precision Nutrition

A leader in the Precision Nutrition space, the NRI is developing and applying cutting-edge methods to determine why metabolism and nutrition requirements differ between individuals. We seek to understand nutrient metabolism and its relationship to human development and disease with the goal of increasingly replacing general dietary guidance with more customized nutrition recommendations.

Precision Nutrition Considered in NIH Strategic Plan

Recognition of the importance of Precision Nutrition can be seen in several recent funding initiatives announced by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIH is the major funding source for biomedical research in the US, and its funding priorities reflect what it perceives to be health issues of major concern. In this regard, it is notable that NIH established the Nutrition Research Task Force in 2016 to coordinate and accelerate nutrition research.

To highlight its position as a leader in Precision Nutrition research, the NRI held the “Defining Precision Nutrition” Symposium in 2018. NRI Director Steven Zeisel was also invited to speak to the Task Force in 2019, where he emphasized the importance and potential of Precision Nutrition. These efforts to increase the visibility of Precision Nutrition research are paying off:  Precision Nutrition is one of four new programs under development for FY 2021 by the NIH Office of Strategic Coordination (The Common Fund). The Common Fund is a resource by which NIH makes strategic investments in programs that will have high impact. NIH

This growing interest on the part of NIH in funding Precision Nutrition further validates the mission of the NRI and suggests that over the coming years, there will be increased availability of research funds for which the NRI is ideally placed to compete.

Advanced Approaches to Science


The UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI)
is an internationally recognized center that conducts innovative basic and translational science studying how individual differences in requirements and responses to diet affect our individual nutritional needs.

We believe that our advances in nutrition science are leading to successes in preventing or mitigating the negative effects of chronic diseases and aging, and in improving human development, even prior to conception.

Nutrigenetics
Identifying the genetic blueprint that makes each of us respond uniquely to nutrition and what it means for our personal health.

Epigenetics
Studying chemical marks on genes that turn them on or off, and are often affected by nutrition early and for the rest of life.

Nutrigenomics
Using molecular tools to understand how nutrients may affect the expression of genes.

Metabolomics
Measuring thousands of small molecules (metabolites) to better understand how nutrition affects our metabolism, performance and health.

Microbiome
Studying how each of the many microbe species in our gut affects our nutritional health in different ways and makes us respond uniquely to nutrition.

What is Precision Nutrition?

Related News

One Size Won’t Fit All

August 20, 2019 – Nearly 35 percent of Americans are considered obese — a diagnosis that has become so common the American Medical Association recognizes it as a chronic disease. While the diagnosis is the same for all, the treatments vary; what works for one person typically doesn’t work for another. In response, researchers from across UNC have joined forces to tackle this ever-growing problem.

Zeisel Presents Before NIH

Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) Director Steven Zeisel, MD, PhD, recently presented before the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Nutrition Research Task Force (NRTF). The NRTF was established in October 2016 to coordinate and accelerate progress in nutrition...

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.

Chinese herb may be a natural method of treating diabetes

May 31, 2019 – The traditional Chinese herb Lycii Cortex (LyC), with its powerful compound kukoamine B, could be an effective nutraceutical choice for lowering blood glucose when used alone or in combination with low doses of first-line diabetes medications.

The DNA Diet: How knowing your genes can help you fit into your jeans

May 28, 2019 – Most people have this basic understanding of genetics: You inherit genes from your parents, and their DNA combines to create your unique genetic makeup. This can include more obvious traits such as eye color and height but also more complex traits that may involve multiple genes, such as risk of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer, as well as all aspects of metabolism.