November 5, 2020

The UNC Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) Pilot & Feasibility (P&F) Program recently received funding from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to establish a process designed to increase the number of new investigators from underrepresented minority (URM) groups who become established investigators in nutrition and obesity research.

To achieve this critical goal, the P&F Program is working with K. Sean Kimbro, PhD, professor of biology and biomedical sciences at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), to develop a mentoring and research collaboration to promote the career development of URM investigators. Located in Durham, North Carolina, NCCU is one of the region’s historically black colleges or universities (HBCU).

“This collaboration reflects an ongoing effort to combat obesity and better understand the nutritional needs of underserved populations with cultural sensitivity while broadening the diversity of research teams,” said Kimbro.

The Program will provide seed research support for one NCCU early career investigator from a URM group during their critical transition period as a senior postdoctoral fellow or junior faculty member in nutrition and obesity research. In addition to contributing financial support and access to UNC NORC resources, the program will provide networking opportunities, mentoring, workshops and practical biostatistical and grant management support from NORC members and personnel.

The goal of this effort is to enhance the funded UNC NORC P&F Program to create an ongoing support system for URM investigators at HBCUs to be able to advance nutrition and obesity research.

“We at the UNC NORC are very excited about this collaboration with our partners at NCCU,” said NORC Co-Director Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, PhD, Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Gillings School. “Together, we will work to advance our shared goal of promoting nutrition and obesity research, with an emphasis on advancing the careers of early-stage investigators from underrepresented minority populations.”

Contact the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health communications team at

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