Speakers

Dr. Claude Bouchard

Keynote Speaker: Claude Bouchard, PhD
Professor, John W. Barton, Sr. Endowed Chair in Genetics and Nutrition
Director of the Human Genomics Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Louisiana State University

Dr Bouchard’s research deals with the genetics of adaptation to exercise and nutritional challenges, as well as the genetics of obesity and its comorbidities. He has authored or coauthored more than 1100 scientific papers and has written or edited 35 books. He is a foreign member of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Belgium since 1996. In 1994, he became an Officer of the Order of Leopold II of Belgium, in 2001, a member of the Order of Canada, and in 2005, a Chevalier in the Ordre National du Quebec. Dr. Bouchard received Honoris Causa Doctorates from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1998, from the University of South Carolina in 2009, from the University of Guelph and from Brock University in 2011, from the University of Ottawa in 2012, and from the University of Athens (Greece) and Laval University in 2015. Early in his career, he was on the Kinesiology Faculty at Laval University, Quebec City, and he was made a Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Medicine, upon his retirement. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Society of Nutrition, the American Heart Association, the Obesity Society, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Brian Bennett, PhD
Research Leader, Obesity and Metabolism Research
US Department of Agriculture

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, PhD
Director 

UNC Charlotte

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, PhD
Associate Professor, Psychology
UNC Nutrition Research Institute

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, PhD, MPH
Professor, Nutrition
UNC Nutrition Research Institute

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, PhD
Assistant Professor, Genetics
Gillings School of Global Public Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dr. Ideraabdullah has a primary appointment in the UNC Department of Genetics and 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.

Peter Jones, PhD
Director, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals
University of Manitoba

Peter J. Jones is a nutritional biochemist and dietary interventionist, specializing in human feeding trials, and applying stable isotope techniques to understanding how food selection impacts on nutrient and bioactive trafficking in humans. He is Director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals at the University of Manitoba (RCFFN.ca). He is also Past-President of the Danone Institute of Canada and President of Nutritional Fundamentals for Health Inc (NFH.ca)

 

Martin Kohlmeier, MD, PhD
Professor, Nutrition
UNC Nutrition Research Institute

Dr. Kohlmeier’s research on precision nutrition explores individual metabolic responses to food and nutrient intakes and the health consequences for people with different responses. He uses innovative information technologies and algorithms to read the body’s DNA blueprint down to very fine details, translate these readings into practical decisions for better health, and help individuals safely navigate personal food choices.

Natalia Krupenko, PhD
Assistant Professor, Nutrition
UNC Nutrition Research Institute

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.

Katie Meyer, ScD
Research Assistant Professor, Nutrition
UNC Nutrition Research Institute

Dr. Meyer is a nutritional and cardiovascular disease epidemiologist. Her research focuses on diet-related health behaviors and nutritional risk factors for cardiometabolic disease.  She is a recipient of a Research Scientist Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study the gut microbiota, nutrient metabolites, and cardiovascular disease in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study.

Kari North, PhD
Professor
UNC Department of Epidemiology

Dr. North is a professor of epidemiology in the UNC Department of Epidemiology and has developed a strong multidisciplinary research program evaluating the genetic epidemiology of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and associated risk factors. 

Dr. North leads the UNC Department of Epidemiology’s CVD Genetic Epidemiology Computational Laboratory, a collaborative assembly of faculty members, pre- and post-doctoral fellows, and staff members spanning UNC departments with collective expertise in both family- and population-based genetic epidemiological research.

At the national level, Dr. North currently serves as a permanent member on the CASE-EPIC Panel A study section, is an editorial board member of multiple prominent journals and serves in several elected leadership roles in The Obesity Society and in the American Heart Association Epidemiology Council. 

At UNC, Dr. North has been engaged with several interdisciplinary centers that foster collaborative research in genetics.

Susan Sumner, PhD
Professor, Nutrition
UNC Nutrition Research Institute

Dr. Sumner is working to make precision nutrition a reality, through the study of metabolic individuality. 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, disease, or responsivity to treatment or intervention. Her studies in metabolic individuality span areas of maternal and child health, reproductive and developmental biology, obesity, liver injury, kidney disease, and infectious disease.

Maria Elizabeth Tejero, PhD
Medical Researcher
Instituto Nacional de Medicina Genómica, Mexico

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, PhD
Assistant Professor, Nutrition
UNC Nutrition Research Institute

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, PhD
Director, Associate Professor
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy

Dr. Wiltshire’s current research focus centers on preclinical pharmacogenetics and translational clinical pharmacogenetics. He is an associate professor in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics and Director of the UNC Center for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy. He also holds adjunct faculty positions in the Department of Genetics of the UNC School of Medicine and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and is actively involved with multiple collaborations with other institutions.

Steven H. Zeisel, MD, PhD
Director
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 PhD 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.