Brian Bennett, Ph.D.
US Department of Agriculture
Research Leader, Obesity and Metabolism Research

Dr. Bennett researches genetic susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and obesity and investigates the effects of diet on these metabolic diseases. His work has helped identify new indicators of disease such as trimethylamine N-oxide’s (TMAO) association with cardiovascular disease. Dr. Bennett’s studies regarding TMAO have stimulated his current interest in understanding how the gut microbiome affects cardiovascular disease.

Cory Brouwer, Ph.D.
UNC Charlotte
Director Bioinformatics Services Division and Associate Professor

Dr. Brouwer is Director of the Bioinformatics Services Division and Associate Professor of Bioinformatics and Genomics at UNC Charlotte. He and his team provide a wide range of bioinformatics and computational biology services to the NCRC, UNC Charlotte and surrounding area life sciences community. Some recent projects have involved de novo assembly of genomes and transcriptomes using next generation sequencing, clinical association studies and comparative genomics.

Carol Cheatham, Ph.D.
UNC Nutrition Research Institute
Associate Professor, Psychology

Dr. Cheatham’s research focuses on the relationship between an individual’s genome and the metabolism of nutrients, and how this leads to differences in cognitive and social development. She is interested in the development of memory and attention as they are the basis for learning, and therefore school readiness.

Stephen Hursting, Ph.D., M.P.H.
UNC Nutrition Research Institute
Professor, Nutrition

Dr. Hursting is interested in diet-gene interactions relevant to cancer prevention, particularly the molecular and hormonal mechanisms underlying energy balance-cancer associations.



Folami Ideraabdullah, Ph.D.
UNC Nutrition Research Institute
Assistant Professor, Genetics

Dr. Ideraabdullah joined the NRI to expand her research program in genetics to study the role of dietary nutrients such as folate, choline, betaine, and Vitamin B12 in determining disease susceptibility. She investigates which genetic differences between individuals determine how the cells of our body respond to changes in diet and, not only how these cellular responses may increase the risk of disease in the individual, but also how such responses may be inherited by their children.

Martin Kohlmeier, M.D., Ph.D.
UNC Nutrition Research Institute
Research Professor, Nutrition

Dr. Kohlmeier’s research explores how to help individuals safely navigate daily food choices and how those choices might affect cancer risk. Dedicated to helping the public benefit from recent advancements in genetics and nutrition, Dr. Kohlmeier uses this new technology to read the body’s DNA blueprint down to very fine details. His goal is to translate this data into practical directions for people’s health.

Natalia Krupenko, Ph.D.
UNC Nutrition Research Institute
Assistant Professor, Nutrition

Dr. Krupenko’s research is focused on the role of folate (vitamin B9) in promoting health and preventing disease in humans. Folate deficiency has been connected with increased risk for neural tube defects, cardiovascular disease and cancer.


Susan Sumner, Ph.D.
UNC Nutrition Research Institute
Professor of Nutrition

Dr. Sumner is working to make personalized medicine a reality. Using metabolomics, the unique chemical fingerprints that cellular processes leave behind, Sumner assesses differences in the metabotype of individuals that correlate with states of wellness or disease. She is identifying individuals’ response to treatment in areas such as obesity, drug-induced liver injury, infectious disease, and reproductive and developmental biology.

Maria Elizabeth Tejero, Ph.D.
Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica, Mexico
Medical Researcher

Dr. Tejero is the head of the laboratory of Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics at the National Institute of Genomic Medicine in Mexico City. She has conducted human studies and worked with animal models for the study of effects of dietary components on gene expression regulation, and on the role of genetic variation in the response to environmental factors, particularly diet and exercise.

Saroja Voruganti, Ph.D.
UNC Nutrition Research Institute
Assistant Professor, Nutrition

Dr. Voruganti’s research investigates how genetic and environmental (particularly diet and nutrients) factors impact hyperuricemia, gout, kidney and cardiovascular disease, with the goal of finding new treatment options.

Tim Wiltshire, Ph.D.
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Associate Professor

Tim Wiltshire’s current research focus centers on preclinical pharmacogenetics using mouse models. Wiltshire is now an associate professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics and an associate director of the UNC Center for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy.

Steven H. Zeisel, M.D., Ph.D.
UNC Nutrition Research Institute

Dr. Zeisel’s passion for the science of nutrition is evident throughout his distinguished career.  He initially attended medical school at Harvard and completed his residency in pediatrics at Yale- New Haven Hospital. He earned his Ph.D. in Nutrition from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979. A world-renowned scientist, Zeisel is credited with the discovery of choline’s role as an essential nutrient, particularly for women during pregnancy. His studies on choline were the first to create an understanding of the nutrient’s critical role in brain development of infants. His research led the field of nutrition to establish the significance of this essential nutrient for brain development and outline the far-reaching implications for pregnant mothers.