The University of North Carolina Nutrition and Obesity Research Center (NORC) introduces the new Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics (NGx) Core. Located in the UNC Nutrition Research Institute (NRI) on the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, NGx has been created to assist investigators in conducting studies that lead to a better understanding of the impacts lifestyle and genetics have on health and disease.

“We want to help investigators realize that neither nutrition nor genetics should be studied in isolation,” explained Saroja Voruganti, PhD, NGx director and Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the NRI. “Our goal is to popularize this idea and help scientists understand how genetics play a role in nutrient metabolism.”

The NGx Core provides multiple services:

  • Guidance related to the nutrigenetic potential of a study
  • Explanation of the most appropriate study design and sample selection
  • Processing, quality checking, power calculation and generation of preliminary data
  • Study implementation, collection of data and samples
  • Processing of samples and direction to the core for analysis of the samples
  • Data management and analyses
  • Explanation and interpretation of analyses
  • Graphic representation of results
  • Proofreading manuscripts
  • Assistance with grant application based on results
  • Advice on clinical or translational application of the results

NGx provides benefits for a wide range of investigators, such as nutritional epidemiologists, psychologists, geneticists and physicians who want to enhance their scientific capabilities by incorporating the core’s expertise into their studies.

Current projects

The Core is currently spearheading two projects to showcase the importance of genes and lifestyle in human health.

1) Children’s Health Study  This research proposes to identify genetic factors and lifestyle patterns (diet and physical activity) affecting obesity and other related health problems in children. We are recruiting children 5-19 years old along with their parents. The children will provide blood, saliva and urine samples as well as information on dietary and lifestyle habits.

2) Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics and Precision Nutrition Workshop  This annual workshop will be held from May 22-25 this year in Kannapolis, NC. This short course is designed for graduate students, health professionals and nutrition scientists from academia and industry. The workshop-style course provides fundamental concepts of nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics and personalized nutrition through cutting edge presentations and hands-on experiences. Attendees are afforded the opportunity to participate in a personal DNA test and examine their own nutrigenetic data.

For more information on the new NGx Core, please contact Saroja Voruganti at saroja@unc.edu or 704-250-5009.

This story was originally published on transforming-science.com.