NRI - Facilities
Nutrition Research Institute
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Our Facilities

The Nutrition Research Institute is located on the 350-acre North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The 125,000-square-foot building houses a broad variety of laboratory and research spaces, clinical facilities, offices, and meeting areas.

Wet Laboratories

The NRI provides state-of-the-art laboratories with all new equipment. A PyroMark Q96 MD machine offers pyrosequencing technology for conducting quantitative genetic analysis; this equipment can genotype almost any mutation or SNP. QIAcubes provide gene sequencing and gene expression analysis, but also purify genomic and bacterial DNA, viral nucleic acids, total RNA and cellular RNA as well as viral and micro-RNA. Other lab equipment on hand simplifies and speeds up the research process by providing rapid, high-precision polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as well as other time- and effort-saving features. A BD FACSAria III allows for sensitive and flexible sorting procedures using up to 6 lasers and capturing up to 18 colors, complimenting the cutting edge equipment available to our researchers. Within a few steps of each lab are centrally located shared facilities, including cell culture and tissue culture rooms, -80o C freezers, imaging suites, microscopy areas, animal housing, centrifuges, and more.

NRI laboratories are designed to make research productive, but also pleasant. The labs are connected to private, furnished office suites for faculty, lab managers, and administrative staff. The labs themselves are well-lighted with walls of windows and efficient task lighting. Every lab is outfitted with plenty of work space and storage, protective hoods, ventilation systems, and power back-up. Each lab also has access to de-ionized water, glass-washing stations, and other conveniences as well as enclosed, semi-private offices for research assistants or junior faculty.

Clinical Facilities

The NRI building contains a clinical services facility complete with examination rooms and equipment, a pharmacy, phlebotomy laboratory, specimen laboratory, and furnished consultation rooms. For feeding studies, the NRI also has a metabolic research kitchen designed to support nutrition research and considered a "gold standard" when conducting nutrition interventions. Investigators will work closely with a certified dietician to design, prepare, and serve meals with a safe, accurate, and consistent approach. Meals can be controlled for any one or a number of nutrients depending upon the research question and study-specific criteria. The metabolic kitchen is equipped with industrial grade kitchen appliances, a tray service station, dish room, and storage for dry goods. In addition, a dining area adjacent to the kitchen can seat up to 70 research participants for diet intervention studies.

Metabolic Rate Assessment and Body Composition Equipment

NRI scientists conduct research in metabolism and body composition, so the facility offers the newest in these assessment technologies. A dual-energy x-ray absorption scanner measures lean-to-fat ratios and provide maps of localized adipose tissue on study participants. Like the iDXA, a BodPod also measures body fat; however, the Pod uses air displacement plethysmography to determine highly accurate body fat percentage readings—making water submersion a thing of the past. A TrueOne 2400 Metabolic Measurement System combines an EKG system along with a treadmill and bike ergometer to evaluate participants’ cardio-pulmonary response and oxygen exchange, allowing an accurate reading of their active rate of metabolism. A separate, portable canopy system measures resting metabolic rate.

The NRI also is home to one of only 11 metabolic chambers in the U.S.; the NRI has the only metabolic chamber on the East Coast, outside of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. This machine offers the very best measure of metabolism available because it measures energy expenditure over an extended period of time, usually 24 hours or more. Through a designated air-handling system, air locks, and measured air exchange, the metabolic chamber measures a person’s rate of metabolism within a +/-2 % accuracy.

Meeting Areas and Office Space

The NRI building was designed with collaboration, collegiality, and productivity in mind. Meeting areas and office space adjoin or connect the different clinical and laboratory research areas throughout the building. In addition to the 32,500 square feet of wet lab space is another 18,000 square feet of laboratory offices and conference areas suitable for as few as two or as many as 70 people.

Spacious meeting rooms outfitted with conference call phones, Internet ports (in addition to campus-wide Wi-Fi), and LCD projectors are throughout the facility. There are also smaller, informal spaces, where colleagues can meet to discuss current projects or to relax away from the laboratory. In addition, each laboratory adjoins a large furnished suite of offices suitable for a lab manager and support personnel.

On-Campus Resources

The NRI’s location on the North Carolina Research Campus puts our scientists only footsteps away from the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI) which offers some of the best biotechnology equipment available, including a molecular genomics laboratory, a metabolomics laboratory, a 950 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance superconducting magnet, a broad array of microscopy technologies, and other capabilities.