Why Genomics Matters

Every individual has at least 50,000 polymorphisms, or “spelling” differences, in our genetic code. Inherited from our ancestors, and differing greatly from those around the world, they explain some of the differences in metabolism and risks for developing diseases. Understanding these diseases will allow for a targeted approach to improving public health. Additionally, we have learned that there are “switches” on our genes that are turned on or off by our environment and diet early in life – re-tuning our metabolism and immune systems. The study of these switches, known as epigenetics, will allow for new approaches to prevent chronic diseases by being able to control these “switches.”

Current Research

The Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis, led by Nutrition distinguished professor Dr. Steven Zeisel, specializes in the rapidly growing field of nutrigenomics, or the link between genes and diet. Zeisel and his team are dedicated to developing the field on individualized nutrition – understanding why people have different metabolism and requirements for nutrients.  Faculty members at the Institute also is uncovering how diet during the first 1000 days after conception influences how metabolism is “tuned” and changes the development of brain, eye, heart and many other organs.

Additional Research in the Field of Genomics

UNC study suggests DNA methylation as potential biomarker for cervical dysplasia

Gillings researchers to lead $1.2M grant to develop new analysis methods for eQTL studies

International study finds 20 genetic regions, across all ethnic ancestries, associated with kidney function


Highlighted Leaders in the Field