Exploring Individualized Nutrition
The UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) is leading the development of individualized nutrition. Part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the NRI is located in Kannapolis, NC.
Scientists at the NRI seek to discover why people differ in their metabolism and nutritional requirements and to use this understanding to ensure optimal health through individualized nutrition (precision nutrition). Just as precision medicine is the next frontier in medical treatment, precision nutrition holds great potential to enhance our ability to prevent, delay the onset, or mitigate the progression of disease and to improve health outcomes.
We aim to enhance understanding of health and human development through greater knowledge of how genetic, epigenetic, microbiome and metabolic mechanisms affect a person’s requirements for and responses to nutrition.
Our guiding scientific premise is that each of us is metabolically unique. The NRI is dedicated to answering the question of how these differences affect an individual’s health, and, in so doing, update the current, but outdated, paradigm of a singular dietary guideline with specific nutritional recommendations and actions by which an individual can improve his or her health and quality of life.
The NRI seeks to become a global leader in precision nutrition through the following goals: (1) to advance the science of individualized nutrition by performing cutting-edge research, (2) to educate and train future generations of nutrition researchers, (3) to translate nutrition research findings for the general public and (4) to support regional economic redevelopment.
We are discovering how your nutrition affects your health.
A Healthier Tomorrow through Today’s Research
NRI pioneering research is replacing the outdated one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition with cutting-edge discoveries of unique differences in DNA and metabolism.
Our scientists explore nutritional individuality through nutrigenomics and metabolomics. With our discoveries, physicians will soon be able to create diet and exercise plans customized to each person’s distinct needs. NRI research is contributing to improved brain development and function, and resistance to or better treatment of such diseases as cancer, diabetes and obesity.
We are transforming the field of nutrition for maximized wellness worldwide.
State-of-the-Art Facilities and Tools
The 125,000-square-foot building houses a broad variety of laboratory and research spaces, clinical facilities, offices and meeting areas. Distinguishing features include:
- fully equipped metabolic research kitchen
- outpatient clinical services suite
- behavioral testing suite
The UNC NRI is home to one of only 11 metabolic chambers in the U.S. This machine (also called a whole-room calorimeter) offers the very best measure available (within a +/-2 % accuracy) of a person’s energy expenditure over an extended period of time to indicate their metabolic rate. NRI researchers use the chamber to study how genes, nutrients and exercise affect metabolism among individuals.