Organization and Goals

The Washington University, St. Louis NORC’s activities enhance our understanding of the basic and clinical aspects of nutrition in the prevention, etiology, pathophysiology and therapy of nutrition-related diseases. Since its inception in 1999, the NORC has served as a nucleus for the growth and development of nutrition and obesity research at Washington University.

Our center focuses on five major areas of research through interdisciplinary research teams:

  • Obesity-related metabolic and organ system dysfunction
  • Adipose tissue biology and immune function/inflammation
  • Obesity prevention and therapy
  • Maternal, fetal, childhood nutrition and obesity
  • Aging and nutrition

The NORC is focused around three major interactive program themes:

  • Obesity: Pathophysiology, Complications and Therapeutics
  • Nutrient Metabolism in Health and Disease
  • Growth, Development, and Aging

Newly emerging areas of major interest include:

  • Gut Microbiome
  • Community Health

The overall goals of the NORC are to:

  • Stimulate new and innovative nutrition and obesity research and to support collaborative research among investigators from different disciplines and in different University Departments.  To this end, the NORC will foster communication and interaction between basic and clinical investigators; will provide state-of-the-art and cost-effective core laboratory services to support nutrition and obesity research; and will enhance the translation of discoveries in basic science to human clinical investigation to clinical practice and community health
  • Attract new investigators to the field of nutrition and obesity and enhance their development as independent and creative investigators through access to specialized hands-on training, core laboratory resources, shared facilities, and training and educational programs
  • Improve the training and education of students, house staff, postdoctoral research fellows, physician faculty, and allied health personnel in clinical nutrition, clinical obesity and nutrition/obesity research
  • Improve nutritional aspects of patient care by enhancing clinical nutrition services and by improving physician and health care provider nutrition knowledge
  • Partner with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the Institute for Public Health, the Center for Diabetes Translation Research, and the Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research to coordinate and promote community education and research to promote health and reduce obesity in the greater St. Louis Metropolitan area

Core Facilities

The NORC Cores at Washington University, St. Louis provide outstanding technical services and assist investigators in areas of research including isotope tracers, mathematical modeling, rodent models, and mass spectrometry. The four NORC research cores are as follows:


Adipocyte Biology and Molecular Nutrition Core

The Adipocyte Biology and Molecular Nutrition Core stimulates and supports leading cutting-edge nutrition and obesity research that requires detailed tissue and cellular analyses. The strong expertise of the Core directors in cellular metabolism, cell biology and molecular nutrition, the technical experience of the staff, and the array of well-maintained specialized equipment provide NORC investigators with the ability to study mechanisms in cell and tissue systems and enhance both basic and clinical research activities.

Animal Model Research Core

The Animal Model Research Core facilitates nutrition and obesity-related research for investigators using mouse models to generate translational and transformational insight into human disease.

Biomolecular Analysis Core

The Biomolecular Analysis Core combines the mass spectrometer equipment inventories and expertise of the Washington University Metabolomics Facility and the Washington University Mass Spectrometry Resource. These two facilities provides investigators access to state-of-the-art mass spectrometry analyses needed to quantify and/or identify the structure of nutrition and obesity – related biomolecules through a centralized, standardized, cost-effective, and efficient “one-stop-shop.”

Clinical Service Research Core

The Clinical Science Research Core stimulates and supports leading-edge nutrition/obesity-related clinical and translational research by providing a cohesive organizational structure that facilitates the performance of complex and diverse clinical research activities within a single Core; a comprehensive, targeted mix of specialized services that support investigators in critical areas of clinical research, which makes it possible for even basic scientists to conduct translational research; and expertise, consultation services, and training for young investigators and established investigators (and their staff) who are new to the field or would like to expand and advance their research efforts within the areas of nutrition and obesity. The Core consists of two distinct but tightly integrated sub-cores. The Clinical Studies Performance Subcore provides services and training to facilitate the initiation and performance of nutrition and obesity research in human subjects. The Metabolic Kinetics Subcore provides services and training to evaluate diverse areas of metabolic function.

Contact Us

Samuel Klein, MD

Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Science


Contact Information
Email • Phone: (314) 362-8708
Washington University Nutrition Obesity Research Center



Administrative Offices
Stephanie Paton, Center Administrator
Email • Phone: (314) 362-2632