The New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health (IFNH) hosted its first annual IFNH Research Day on November 1. While the IFNH centers have hosted independent conferences, symposiums and summits on state-of-the-art initiatives in their fields, this is the first time all the units have come together to present jointly. This effort underscores the interdisciplinary approach of IFNH where the units work together to seek solutions to health problems in the social as well as the biological determinants of health.
The Institute is home currently to five centers and three programs–all promoting or conducting cutting edge initiatives in the fields of nutrition, food and health. The event had 110 attendees, including faculty, staff and students, representing various disciplines from diverse Rutgers departments, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and some outside agencies.
The Research Day line-up started with annual reports from the IFNH leadership, including the directors of the Institute, Centers, Programs and Cores. The sessions featured five speakers from each of the Centers discussing their research projects, spanning from lipids and metabolism, food, nutrition, children’s health and the microbiome. The program concluded with a poster session.
IFNH interim director Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello acknowledged the Center, Program and Core directors as well as the presenters and students for the successful execution of the program and the representation of their work and its role in the Institute’s mission. “It has been a year of changes and self-assessment that has led us to a clearer image of the IFNH and how we interconnect our academic communities to foster multidisciplinary research in food and nutrition,” said Dominguez-Bello. “Only together we can bring the research needed to change for the best, and stop and revert current trends of diseases and environmental damage related to the food we consume, and the way we produce it.”
George Carman, director of the Rutgers Center for Lipid Research, noted the effective presentation of a broad range of topics presented in each session, “A highlight of the IFNH Research Day were the short talks included in the sessions given by each of the Centers. In particular, the young investigators who gave talks in the session by Rutgers Center for Lipid Research highlighted the cutting edge research related to lipid-based diseases.” Carman added, “Another highlight of the day was the poster session. The exchange of research ideas by postdocs and students was outstanding.”
The IFNH Centers include the Rutgers Center for Lipid Research; Center for Nutrition, Microbiome, and Health; Center for Childhood Nutrition Research; Center for Human Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism; and Center for Food Systems and Sustainability; along with programs in Culinary Health, One Nutrition, and the NJ Healthy Kids Initiative.