Nutrition Research

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Nutrition research is the scientific study of diet, health and disease in individuals, groups, and populations. Faculty and students are engaged in a broad range of research in physiological, biochemical, and behavioral aspects of nutrition across the lifespan.

Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory

Key Investigators: Drs. Carrie Earthman, Shannon Robson and Jillian Trabulsi
Research in the Energy Balance and Nutrition Laboratory (EBNL) focuses on the energy mechanisms and weight-control behaviors that contribute to desirable or less desirable weight gain, growth, and nutritional status in infants, children, adolescents, and young adults who are healthy, and in those with chronic disease.

Since weight status in young childhood affects development and is predictive of adult weight status, the goal of our laboratory is help all individuals reach and maintain a healthy weight. Visit the EBNL website to learn more.

Obesity and Eating Disorders Research Lab

Key Investigator: Dr. Carly Pacanowski
Dr. Pacanowski’s research aims to understand how disordered eating cognitions and behaviors relate to weight gain over time and behavioral, physiological, and psychological well-being. She co-leads the Disordered Eating Delaware (DEDE) research group with Dr. Christine Skubisz, which focuses on the primary and secondary prevention of eating disorders at UD. Dr. Pacanowski’s research group has conducted several randomized controlled trials investigating weight-control behaviors ranging from quantifiable (e.g. tracking minutes of exercise or steps per day, monitoring weight, calorie counting) to intuitive (e.g. achieving mindful movement through a practice such as yoga, intuitive eating).

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Nutrition and Health Research Laboratory

BHAN faculty Sheau Ching Chai and student Stephanie Kramer demonstrate the DXA machine in the Nurse Managed Primary Care Center.Key Investigator: Dr. Sheau Ching Chai
Nutrition and Health Research Laboratory focuses on investigating the role of functional foods (foods and food components that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition) and dietary antioxidants in prevention and reduction of age- and nutrition-related chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline.

Other areas of research include investigation of the link between inflammation, oxidative stress, and chronic conditions in humans. Visit the Nutrition and Health Research Lab website to learn more.

Nutritional Status Assessment Associated with Health Outcomes

Key Investigator: Dr. Marie Fanelli Kuczmarski
Research conducted by Dr. Kuczmarski focuses on dietary patterns, anthropometric measures, and biochemical indicators of nutritional status related to such health outcomes as cardiovascular disease, cognition, sarcopenia, obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease. These associations are explored using the data from the Healthy Aging in Neighborhoods of Diversity across the Life Span (HANDLS) study, a National Institute of Aging, NIH, longitudinal study [].

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Nutrigenomics Laboratory

Key Investigator: Dr. Jae Kyeom Kim
Dr. Kim has been focusing on preventive mechanisms of non-essential nutrients/constituents from fruits and vegetables against chronic diseases such as cancers and obesity.

Specifically, Dr. Kim has three major research foci: 1) molecular mechanisms of vegetables and their bioactives in cancer prevention (colon and lung cancers), 2) investigation of the role of small RNAs (e.g., microRNA or mitoRNAs) in disease development and crosstalk between these small RNAs and signaling pathways, and 3) establishment and utilization of genetically engineered mice model for chronic disease studies (e.g., isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 knock-out mice model for obesity and cancers).  

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Dietary Assessment and Interventions using Internet Technology

Key Investigator: Dr. Richard Fang
Research conducted by Dr. Fang is focused on the development and validation of dietary assessment tools delivered over the web interface and the development and evaluation of personalized, web-based nutrition education modules to help specific populations (i.e., college students, Asian Americans) improve their intake for certain nutrients such as dietary fiber, calcium, or vitamin C.

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Nutritional Education Outcomes

Key Investigator: Dr. Sandra Baker
Research conducted by Dr. Baker focuses on nutrition education for the public as well as curriculum for nutrition students.  Using qualitative methods to systematically analyze the what and why behind behaviors, her research centers on evaluating nutrition education programs and curriculum.

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Growth and Nutritional Status in Children

Key Investigator: Dr. Alisha Rovner
Research conducted by Dr. Rovner focuses on growth, bone health and body composition in healthy children and children with chronic diseases.  

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