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The inaugural course in Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics and Precision Nutrition was held at the UNC Nutrition Research Institute in Kannapolis, May 23-26. This workshop-style educational course featured 16 expert-led presentations on a variety of topics including “Nutrition and Epigenetics” and “MicroRNA and Metabolic Profiling.” Attendees also participated in hands-on sessions where they learned to analyze and interpret genetic data using PLINK, Harvard’s open-source, whole-genome association analysis software toolset.

This non-credit short course was attended by 96 participants from 6 countries and 29 states, including graduate students, health professionals and nutrition scientists from academia and industry. Presenters included professors from the Nutrition, Psychology and Genetics departments at UNC-Chapel Hill and principal investigators from the UNC Nutrition Research Institute.

The short course was sponsored by the UNC Nutrition Research Institute and the UNC Nutrition Obesity Research Center.

“This workshop is an excellent introduction to the concepts of nutrigenetics, nutrigenomics, epigenetics and metabolomics,” says Dr. Steven H. Zeisel, Institute Director. “We know that nutrition has the most important life-long behavioral impact on human heath, but we are only now beginning to understand human variability in requirements and responses to diet. Understanding these diet-genome interactions is critical if we are going to make progress towards effective prevention and treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.”

The short course is a low-cost opportunity to learn the basics of nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics in an intensive workshop setting. Full registration ranged from $400 to $675. Because of the importance of training future scientists in this field, the NRI offered fee scholarships to more than one-third of course registrants.

Participants were housed at UNC Charlotte and shuttled daily to the nearby North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, site of the Nutrition Research Institute. Sessions took place in meeting facilities at the newly constructed Kannapolis City Hall, also located on the campus. Included in the registration fee were accommodations, all meals, and an afternoon excursion to the 1100-acre U.S. National Whitewater Center, where participants can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including whitewater rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, and mountain biking.


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The UNC Nutrition Research Institute is committed to conducting innovative basic and translational science studying how individual differences in requirements and responses to diet affect our individual nutritional needs. We believe that our advances in nutrition science are leading to successes in preventing or mitigating the negative effects of chronic diseases and aging and in improving human development, even prior to conception.

For more information about the Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics Core, please visit their website or contact Saroja Voruganti.

Research Details

  • Research Center: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Featured NORC Member(s): Saroja Voruganti, PhD, Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Steven Zeisel, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Nutrition
  • Center Contribution: The Nutrigenetics and Nutrigenomics Core developed and created all aspects of this annual workshop.

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