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What is the Nutrition Research Institute?
The Nutrition Research Institute studies why people’s metabolism and nutrient requirements differ from person to person. As scientists, physicians, and healthcare practitioners better understand nutritional individuality, they will be able to enhance human health, improve brain development, and more effectively treat diseases like obesity, cancer, and diabetes.
The NRI is located on the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, North Carolina and is part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
How Does the NRI Study Nutritional Individuality?
The NRI studies nutritional individuality by conducting research in nutrigenomics and metabolomics. Nutrigenomics is the study of how nutrition changes the way genes function and how genes change our nutrient requirements. Metabolomics is the simultaneous measurement of thousands of chemicals-in either blood or urine-that make up an individual’s metabolism. Since most approaches to nutrition consider only the “average” person, nutrigenomics and metabolomics stand out because they customize nutrient requirements specific to an individual. The NRI’s research replaces the previous one-size-fits-all approach to studying nutrition with methods that study individual differences in people’s DNA and metabolism. In the long term, the NRI’s research will allow people to customize their diets in order to maximize wellness and reduce their risk of disease.
The NRI is housed in a new state-of-the-art 96,000 square foot research building on the North Carolina Research Campus. The first floor of the NRI’s facility contains a café, a metabolic kitchen for dietary studies, an outpatient clinical examination suite, and a behavioral testing suite designed to study brain function in people. The second floor features conference facilities and NRI administrative offices. Research laboratories fill the remainder of the four-story building.