Illinois Tech Selected as Enrollment Site for NIH’s Historic Initiative to Advance Nutritional Research

The Illinois Institute of Technology is one of 14 institutions chosen as a submission site for the National Institutes of Health’s landmark initiative to advance nutrition research. Nutrition for Precision Health (NPH), developed by All of us Research Program, is working to engage 10,000 participants from diverse backgrounds across the United States with the goal of learning about how our bodies respond differently to food.

NPH will use artificial intelligence-based approaches to analyze the information provided by participants in order to develop algorithms that predict responses to dietary patterns. The study’s findings may one day allow healthcare professionals to offer more personalized nutritional guidance to improve overall health.

“Poor diet is one of the leading causes of preventable disease and death around the world. If everyone followed the healthy eating guidelines that we have available now, we would still not achieve optimal health because our bodies respond differently to food” , said Holly Nicastro , Ph.D., MPH, CNP coordinator. “Through this study, we are looking to better understand differences in individual responses and pave the way for more personalized guidance in the future.”

Illinois Tech, working with Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, will leverage the existing Illinois Precision Medicine Consortium (IPMC) to help All of us Research Program participants join an investigation into the specific elements of different dietary patterns after assessing people’s usual diet and their body’s response to a standard meal challenge. Comprehensive analysis of people’s blood, urine and gut microbiome on different diets – along with factors such as genes, lifestyle, health history and social determinants of health – will feed intensely rich data, allowing AI predictive models to create personalized diet recommendations to reduce public health issues such as obesity, blood pressure control, diabetes and more.

“We are excited to be a part of this revolutionary project that uses cutting-edge computational and analytical technologies and engages diverse communities in the scientific process,” said Britt Burton-Freeman, professor and director of the Center for Nutrition Research and chair of the Illinois Department of Food Science and Tech nutrition. “There is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ diet, and through this study, we hope to gain information that will lead to more personalized dietary guidance, empowering individuals to make dietary and nutritional choices that best suit their health and well-being.”

To participate in NPH, individuals must be 18 years of age or older and must be enrolled or already enrolled at the NIH All of us Research Program(link is external). All of us is an effort to engage at least 1 million participants in building a health database that reflects America’s diversity, to help accelerate medical research and enable individualized options for prevention, treatment and care.

The CNP study consists of three components. All study participants will participate in the first component, while a subset will participate in the other two components. In the first component of the study, participants will be asked to complete surveys, report their daily diets, and provide blood, urine, and stool samples for laboratory testing, including microbiome analysis. In the second component, a subset of participants will receive diets selected by the researchers. In the third component, participants will also receive diets selected by the researchers, but will be asked to reside in a research facility during the diets. Participants in all three study components will participate in meal challenge tests that measure biological changes after consuming a standardized study-provided meal or beverage. Participants will receive interpreted information from the study about their health, including body fat percentage, microbiome composition, metabolism, and diet composition.

The CNP will link the data of the study participants to the information obtained through the All of us Research program, including genetic information and data from electronic health records and additional research. The study will leverage advances in AI to analyze this vast amount of participant data to develop algorithms that predict how a person will respond to a particular food or diet based on various factors. All this data will finally be accessible through All of us’ data platform, the Researcher Workbench(link is external), to support many other studies on health and disease. Strict safeguards are in place to keep data secure and protect participant privacy.

“Nutrition is perhaps one of the most powerful medicines we have available, yet it is among the least understood,” said Geoffrey Ginsburg, MD, Ph.D., All of us’ medical and scientific director. “By tapping the All of us infrastructure and platform, CNP will be distinguished from other nutrition studies by its scale and diversity. The value of NPH will be magnified by the research community as new types of data are made widely available in the Researcher Workbench to explore and advance our understanding of nutrition and health.”


Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Tech Selected as Enrollment Site for NIH’s Historic Initiative to Advance Nutritional Research

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