Leslie Fischer, PhD

Research Assistant Professor Department of Nutrition

T:(919) 408-3320


800 Eastowne Drive, Suite 100

CB #7461

Chapel Hill, NC 27514


Dr. Fischer's primary research interest is the interrelationship between nutrients and normal development/disease processes. Specifically, she is interested in how key nutrients may enhance infant/toddler development, as well as promote health and prevent disease. Dr. Fischer is currently working on a study to determine the dietary requirements of the nutrient choline in healthy women, and how these requirements are modulated by estrogen status and specific genetic polymorphisms. Choline, an essential nutrient in humans, is used to synthesize membrane phospholipids, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, and the methyl-donor betaine, that functions in the conversion of homocysteine to methionine. Additionally, Dr. Fischer is working on the Choline, Pregnancy and Brain Development study, and a study on DHA and choline supplementation in toddlers. Optimal brain development may depend on availability of specific nutrients such as choline and DHA during critical periods in pre- and postnatal life.

Honors and Awards

Delta Omega Book Award
1996, UNC-CH

Member, Delta Omega Public Health Honorary Society
1995, UNC-CH

John s. Newberry Prize
1993, Columbia University, New York, NY

Charles A. Huebschman Prize
1992, Columbia University, New York, NY

James Howard McGregor Prize
1991, Columbia University, New York, NY

Graduate Faculties Alumni Fellow
1986, Columbia University, New York, NY

Phi Beta Kappa
1986, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Alumni Scholar
1984, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Representative Courses

Doctoral Seminar

Key Publications

Phosphatidylcholine supplementation in pregnant women consuming moderate-choline diets does not enhance infant cognitive function: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Carol Cheatham, Kerry-Ann Costa, Leslie Fischer, Barbara Goldman, J. Reznick, Steven Zeisel (2012). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96(6), 1465-1472.

Association between composition of the human gastrointestinal microbiome and development of fatty liver with choline deficiency. Leslie Fischer, Anthony Fodor, Timothy Hamp, Robert Reid, Melanie Spencer, Steven Zeisel (2011). Gastroenterology, 140(3), 976-986.

Development and implementation of the guiding stars nutrition guidance program. Jeffrey Blumberg, Leslie Fischer, Tracy Fox, Clare Hasler, Lori Kaley, Mark Kantor, Jeremy Nobel, Lisa Sutherland (2011). American Journal of Health Promotion, 26(2), E55-E63.

Docosahexaenoic acid in plasma phosphatidylcholine may be a potential marker for in vivo phosphatidylethanolamine A/-methyltransferase activity in humans. Kerry-Ann Costa, Leslie Fischer, Lisa Sanders, Steven Zeisel (2011). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(5), 968-974.

Choline intake and genetic polymorphisms influence choline metabolite concentrations in human breast milk and plasma. Kerry Costa, Leslie Fischer, Joseph Galanko, Wei Sha, Brigitte Stephenson, Julie Vick, Steven Zeisel (2010). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 92(2), 336-346.


MPH, Nutrition, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1999

PhD, Biology, Columbia University, 1993

BS, Genetics, University of Georgia, 1986