Diet and Cancer Prevention: What Do We Know? What Should You Do?
January 13, 2015 | Stephen Hursting, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Is cancer on the rise? Unfortunately the answer is yes—cancer is now the leading cause of death worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts that cancer cases will surge over the next 20 years unless we focus on prevention. The good news is that most cancers are preventable, and what you eat (and also what you don’t eat) can have a big impact on your risk of developing cancer. Dr. Stephen Hursting, an expert in diet and cancer prevention who trained at UNC Chapel Hill, directed research programs over the past 20 years at the National Cancer Institute and University of Texas, and is now back in North Carolina as Professor at the UNC NRI and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Keeping a Hungry World Healthy: Our Changing Food Supply
March 10, 2015 | Patrick Stover, Ph.D.
Metabolic and chronic diseases are among the greatest contemporary challenges to human health worldwide—a risk that begins before birth with maternal nutrition. While there is still much research required to understand why some genetic populations may be more vulnerable, there is irrefutable evidence that nutrition is essential to support human development and life-long health. Scientific innovations in food and agriculture over the past decades have led not only to unprecedented capacity to increase yield, but also to scale and manipulate the nutrient composition of food with precision. Increases in global food production will be essential to keep pace with worldwide population growth, but reductions in the global burden of chronic disease will require that we develop culturally acceptable food production systems that support human nutrition while being accessible to the most vulnerable populations. Read more.
Vitamins and Healthy Diet: Balance is the Key
April 21, 2015 | 7 pm | Natalia Krupenko, Ph.D.
Vitamins are important substances required for normal function of an organism. But the body itself doesn’t make vitamins; they must be supplied by the diet. Severe vitamin deficiencies were known for decades to cause diseases such as scurvy and night blindness. Now we also know that even milder vitamin deficiencies predispose people for cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer, among other diseases. This knowledge caused a spike in the use of multi-vitamin supplements to help reduce risks and, often, people think that if something is good for their health, then a lot of it is better. The most recent science tells us that this is not true. Dr. Krupenko will give you the latest information on and safety tips for vitamin supplementation. Dr. Krupenko is an expert in biochemistry and cell biology who joined the Nutrition Research Institute early this year from the Medical University of South Carolina. For the past 20 years she has studied folate metabolism in health and disease, and she continues to expand this knowledge to make better dietary recommendation for improving human health. Read more.
The Longevity Diet
May 20, 2015 | 7 pm | Bruce Ames, Ph.D.
Most of the world’s population, even in developed countries, has inadequate intake of one or more of the approximately 30 vitamins and minerals that are essential for human health as they are cofactors for enzymes of metabolism. When there is a shortage of vitamins or essential minerals, nature rations it to favor those enzymes, essential for short term survival and reproduction, at the expense of those enzymes involved with long term health, thus accelerating the disease of aging. Professor Ames, renowned nutritional scientist, will discuss strategies to combat chronic and degenerative conditions through nutrition. Read more.
Many found out where scientific discovery takes place during the 2015 summer by touring the UNC Nutrition Research Institute. Points of interest included one of only a few whole-room calorimeters in the U.S., metabolic assessment lab, body composition lab with BOD POD® demonstration, and a research laboratory.
Cooking for Nourishment: Demo + Talk
September 15, 2015 | 6 pm | Peter Reinhart, JWU Chef on Assignment | Johnson & Wales University Hance Auditorium
In collaboration with Johnson & Wales University, we are pleased to present a very special event at the JWU campus in Center City Charlotte. Peter Reinhart, Chef on Assignment, will team with NRI nutrition expert Itzel Vazquez-Vidal, Ph.D., to demonstrate delicious, healthy cooking while sharing tips for consuming a balanced, nutritious diet. Attendees will be able to sample the fare. The location of the event is the Hance Auditorium, Johnson & Wales University, 801 West Trade Street, Charlotte, NC 28202. Seating is limited to 150. Register early for this much-anticipated event! Light fare will be served.
Diet and Brain Rejuvenation
October 13, 2015 | 7 pm | Natalia Surzenko, Ph.D.
The human brain contains about 86 billion neurons. These brain cells form an enormous number of elaborate functional networks with each other and other parts of the nervous system, which together allow us to go through our daily life. Contrary to popular belief that nerve cells don’t regenerate, some areas of the human brain continue to rejuvenate throughout life. The types of cells that produce neurons during brain development and in adulthood are termed “stem cells.” The same environmental factors that influence stem cells and brain development during childhood also determine how many new neurons are made in the brains of adult and aging individuals. Among these are nutrients and vitamins present in our daily diets. Dr. Surzenko will tell you more about why it is important to keep our brains rejuvenating and what nutrients and vitamins may aid this process. Dr. Surzenko’s studies focus on understanding how nutrient availability affects brain and eye development. Dr. Surzenko received her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010. Read more.
Getting Personal with Bioinformatics
November 10, 2015 | 7 pm | Cory Brouwer, Ph.D., UNC Charlotte
Precision medicine (or personalized medicine) is an approach to treatment that takes into account an individual’s variability in their genes, environment and lifestyle. Earlier this year, President Obama announced in his State of the Union address a new Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) with the goal of revolutionizing how we improve health and treat disease based on a better understanding of this variability that makes each one of us unique. As exciting as these advances and initiatives are, they have also created lots and lots of data; volumes that are measured in terabytes, petabytes, exabytes and zettabytes. How do we turn this incredible volume of data into the information that guides precision medicine and helps determine which treatment a cancer patient should receive to treat a tumor? The answer is Bioinformatics, where biology and computer technology intersect. NRI scientists are studying a new science called nutrigenetics—the study of how genes and nutrients interact to affect metabolism—but their research relies, in part, on bioinformatics. Come hear how this mash-up science called bioinformatics is advancing our understanding of how personal variability affects your nutritional needs.