Our research spans from cell to society, moving from discovery to delivery. Click on one of the primary research areas below to learn more.

Precision Nutrition

Studies that focus on heterogeneity in diet-related effects. Large clinical- and population-based studies are often used as they provide inter-individual variation in exposures and outcomes. Data that captures individual-level heterogeneity in processing of nutrients and their differential health effects as captured with genetic, microbial, and metabolome data.

Diet studies using big data, either in terms of big numbers of research participants and/or large numbers of data points (e.g., molecular, genomic, environmental, nutrient)

Faculty members conducting research in this area include:

Diet, Health and Disease

Studies that focus on the connection between dietary intake and health and disease. Studies may focus on direct associations between nutrition-related exposures and health outcomes or they may be focused on methodological strategies and innovations to measure diet-related exposures. A major departmental focus is on obesity and its role in other diseases. Given differential effects of diet exposures at different points in the lifecycle, a major focus is on addressing short- and long-term nutrition-related impacts.

Studies that examine differential nutrition-related effects across the lifecycle, such as fetal origins of disease, childhood exposures and later health outcomes, intergenerational diet effects, and development of disease over the lifecycle.

Faculty members conducting research in this area include:

Methodological studies designed to measure diet as an exposure or an outcome. Studies may focus on diet collection methodologies, diet assessment, novel methods for analysis of diet data, diet patterning and diet quality.

Faculty members conducting research in this area include:

Studies that characterize community- and environment-related diet and nutrition exposures. Studies may focus on large-scale environments as captured by GPS, agricultural and sustainable food systems, chemical and toxic pollutant exposures, or detailed characterizations of microenvironments.

Faculty members conducting research in this area include:

Fundamentals of Nutrition and Metabolism

Studies that address general nutrition physiology and metabolism to advance understanding of mechanisms of health and disease. Studies may focus on a single biochemical process or they may integrate across signaling pathways and systems. The vast majority of these studies involve a basic science component.

Basic science studies that use cell, animal, or human models of nutrition-related impacts to understand mechanisms of health and disease. Studies may focus on basic physiological mechanisms, absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion pathways and cover topics ranging from immunology to chronic disease.

Faculty members conducting research in this area include:

Studies that address internal signaling of macronutrients, electrolytes, micronutrients and water and functional pathways across multiple systems. Attention to integrative physiological pathways and responses to signals arising from the presence of specific nutrients, metabolites, microbiome derived small molecules, diets and dietary patterns, along with the translational role of these signals.

Faculty members conducting research in this area include:

Understanding and Changing Diet Related Behavior

Studies that focus on the behavioral aspects of diet, nutrition and lifestyles. Studies that develop a better understanding of the placement of behaviors in social and biological context. A significant area of research is in behavioral change and interventions involving novel methodologies for intervention tools, design, and analysis. Broad policy-related science is also a major focus, including societal, community, and local settings as well as novel methodologies for policy evaluation. Many department faculty focus on weight management and obesity-related behaviors.

Studies that further the understanding of diet-and lifestyle-related behaviors, including population-level behaviors as well as individual-level variation in a wide variety of behavior-related factors, including cognitive, social, behavioral, economic, and environmental factors as well as biological and developmental context. Behaviors may focus on discrete types of diet behaviors, overall diet behavior patterns, physical activity or other nutrition-related behaviors.

Faculty members conducting research in this area include:

Studies that address interventions to change behaviors, ranging from clinical to population settings. Studies may focus on intervention strategies, efficacy and sustainability, behavior change theories, measurement and design, novel data collection and intervention technologies, as well as innovations in randomized control trial design and implementation science. Interventions may focus on a wide variety of behaviors, ranging from micronutrient supplementation, weight control trials, environment-related disease to diabetes or other diseases.

Faculty members conducting research in this area include:

Studies that directly address nutrition policy or have policy-relevant focus. Areas of focus include range from societal-level food systems, pricing, and taxation to community-level food access, to specific settings such as school, day care centers or workplaces. Other areas include novel methodological approaches such as natural and simulated experiments as well as policy and program evaluation. Dissemination of nutrition-related information such as nutrition education, training and evaluation are also included.

Faculty members conducting research in this area include:


Other Research Resources

Nutrition Department Faculty Profiles and Research

Nutrition Research Institute (NRI)

UNC Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC)

UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Carolina Population Center

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