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NIH to Fund Nutrigenetics, Nutrigenomics Collaborative Studies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health plans to fund research that will use a range of omics technologies to better understand how nutrition affects human health and disease at the genetic and genomic levels.

NIH said on Friday that it will support projects in which experts in omics technologies collaborate with nutrition researchers to apply nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics approaches to basic, translational, and clinical nutrition studies.

There is growing enthusiasm for the notion that new omics tools and methods will offer new insights into human nutrition research, NIH said.

Nutrigenetics focuses on the impact that genetic variants have on nutrient metabolism, and nutrigenomics on gene expression, function, and regulation in response to nutrient intake. These fledgling fields may involve a wide range of research approaches, including the use of transcriptomics, proteomics, epigenomics, and metabolomics.

These types of approaches can be targeted to specific sets of analytes, or may not be targeted, enabling global analyses. The molecular signatures uncovered through such studies may shed light on important pathophysiological processes and markers involved in diseases, NIH said.

The new studies, which will be supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Cancer Institute, and the Office of Dietary Supplements, will seek to use those approaches to better understand how nutrient and dietary constituents affect metabolism, and to derive mechanistic information about the roles nutrients play in health and disease.

These collaborative projects may involve studies of the impact of SNPs on nutrient absorption, transport, and metabolism; the impact of nutrients and dietary components on gene expression; the mechanisms by which nutrients and dietary components affect the composition of the intestinal microbiome; the impact of nutrient excess and deficiency in health and diseases; and a range of related projects.

NIH has not set a funding total or budget cap for these projects, which may last up to five years.