- Featured in the University of Illinois’ The Next 150 2018-2023 Strategic Plan
- The Personalized Nutrition Initiative submitted a 12-page response to the Request for Information (RFI) that NIH has issued on Challenges and Opportunities in Precision Nutrition Research.
- The Personalized Nutrition Initiative submitted a 15-page response to the new RFI that NIH has issued on Data Science Challenges and Opportunities in the Field of Precision Nutrition.
[NASEM Health and Medicine, December 8, 2021] New Publication: Challenges and Opportunities for Precision and Personalized Nutrition: Proceedings of a Workshop – In Brief
The Food Forum of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine convened a public workshop exploring potential challenges and opportunities in applying precision and personalized nutrition approaches to optimize dietary guidance and improve nutritional status. The workshop, held on August 10-12, 2021, discussed ways to define both approaches, described current research designs and methodologies in diverse populations, and examined limitations in design and data. The workshop also reviewed innovative methodologies and technologies at the various scales of precision nutrition (including the genetic, physiologic/microbiome, individual, and social-ecologic scales) and discussed challenges and opportunities for implementing these approaches equitably. This Proceedings of a Workshop-in Brief highlights the expert perspectives from academia, the federal government, and industry presented in the workshop.
[LinkedIn, November 12, 2021] Tristin Brisbois, Director, Advanced Personalization Ideation Center, Life Sciences, Global R&D at PepsiCo published a call for action article on titled Need for Industry standards in Personalized Nutrition. Her main take-home is “…there is no room for error. With the dependence on consumers providing their personal information and data, the whole industry could collapse if trust is eroded. We need to connect regulators and policy makers with industry and academics to try and get ahead of the curve with a set of core principles that are evidence based (or based on best available evidence) to even the playing field and avoid consumer confusion through conflicting or misleading advice.”
[Nutrition Today, November 10, 2021] A new publication intended to be a guide for nutritionists was published by Leila Shinn, MS, RDN, FAND, Division of Nutritional Sciences, and Hannah Holscher, PhD, RD, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Personalized nutrition aims to enhance human health by tailoring dietary recommendations to individuals based on their physiology. This article covers the concept of personalized nutrition using the example of dietary modulation of the human gut microbiome and implications for human health. It provides readers with a basic understanding of multiomics analyses and machine learning tools and how these may be used by nutrition professionals to evaluate studies involving them and personalized nutrition.
[Foodvalley NL] Foodvalley NL together with 53 stakeholders have written a personalized nutrition position paper that includes the definition, status, and future opportunities of personalized nutrition. Read the full paper.
Foodvalley NL is an international and independent platform that has been a major driver of the sustainable food system since 2004. While Foodvalley NL used to offer a stage to innovative agri-food organizations, the organization is now acting as a catalyst for transition. Why? Because the food system has to change more rapidly if we want to have tasty, affordable, healthy and sustainable food available for 10 billion people by the year 2050. Food that should be produced while respecting the animals and our planet.
Sep 28, 2021 [ScienceDaily] 5 or more’: Higher fruit, vegetable servings linked to kids’ improved mental well-being. New research finds that children who eat more fruit and veg have better mental health. The study is the first to investigate the association between fruit and vegetable intakes, breakfast and lunch choices, and mental wellbeing in UK school children. The research team studied data from almost 9,000 children in 50 schools. They found that the types of breakfast and lunch eaten by both primary and secondary school pupils were significantly associated with wellbeing.
Sep 3, 2021 [Illinois News Bureau] An avocado a day could help redistribute belly fat in women toward a healthier profile, according to a new study led by Naiman Khan, PhD, RD, Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. One hundred and five adults with overweight and obesity participated in a randomized controlled trial that provided one meal a day for 12 weeks. Women who consumed an avocado a day as part of their meal had a reduction in visceral abdominal fat – the hard-to-target fat associated with higher risk – and experienced a reduction in the ratio of visceral fat to subcutaneous fat, indicating a redistribution of fat away from the organs. However, fat distribution in males did not change, and neither males nor females had improvements in glucose tolerance. Read the full press release.
August 9, 2021 [Current Development in Nutrition] A recent peer-reviewed perspective paper published in Current Developments in Nutrition analyzed the current research on gut microbiome testing and how it may inform custom nutritional intervention. Authored by the science team at Cambridge, MA-based InsideTracker, a platform that uses blood biometric, DNA insights and physiobiomarkers to create custom nutrition and lifestyle plans, and InsideTracker scientific advisory board member Jeffrey Bumberg, PhD, FACN, CNS, professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University (Boston, MA), the paper argues that microbiome analysis is not yet mature enough to be used reliably in creating custom health interventions, in and of itself.
This is because of the lack of reproducible microbiome associations across independent studies, as well as inconsistent documentation of sampling collection and processing, and no standardized data processing and analytical methods. According to the paper, “until microbiota associations are more consistently replicated, and randomized clinical trials and/or other longitudinal cohort approaches revealing causal effects of modifying the microbiome on wellness (not just clinical) phenotypes, the interpretation of individual microbiomes toward personalized recommendations remains a challenge.”
July 30, 2021 [American Society for Nutrition] In honor of National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week, American Society for Nutrition (ASN) has curated a special free collection of research from ASN Journals, ASN Meetings, and an interview with ASN Member Sharon M. Donovan, PhD, RD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies the impact of nutrition on the first 1,000 days of life.
June 1, 2021 [NoCamels] Israeli startup DayTwo, a company that developed a personalized health platform based on the gut microbiome, raised $37 million to continue developing solutions that help people improve their health and manage diabetes and other metabolic diseases through nutrition, the company announced.
The company’s platform provides microbiome-based, customized nutrition recommendations and diagnostic solutions backed by AI and machine learning. DayTwo’s initial product enables glycemic control and is targeted for people with type 2 diabetes, helping them balance blood sugar levels, lower HbA1C, and manage their weight using a food-as-medicine approach personalized to the subject’s clinical and personal traits. The new investment will fund more research “into the links between the bacteria in our bodies and other diseases, and the development of new algorithms, to provide new scientific discoveries,” Lev indicated. The read the full article, click here.
April 30, 2021 [News Medical Life Sciences] In one of the first studies of its kind, medical and engineering researchers have shown wearable devices that continuously monitor blood sugar provide new insights into the progression of Type 2 diabetes among at-risk Hispanic/Latino adults. The findings by researchers from Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI) and Rice University are available online in EClinicalMedicine, an open-access clinical journal published by The Lancet.
“The fresh look at the glucose data sheds new light on disease progression, which could have a direct impact on better management,” said Rice study co-author Ashutosh Sabharwal, professor and department chair in electrical and computer engineering and founder of Rice’s Scalable Health Labs. “An important aspect of our analysis is that the results are clinically interpretable and point to new directions for improved Type 2 diabetes care.” “We are excited about the application of digital health technologies for underserved populations as a way to eliminate health disparities and improve health equity,” David Kerr said (co-author). “This opens up potential for a larger number of collaborations to support SDRI’s evolving focus on precision nutrition and also the expanded use of digital health technologies for both the prevention and management of all forms of diabetes.” The read the full article, click here
April 26, 2021 [bioRxiv] A new publication by Janelle Connell et al. of Viome, Inc. in bioRxiv demonstrated that their data precision technology platform supports the integration of precision food and supplements into the standard of care for people with depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Their platform focuses on personalized, and data-driven nutritional recommendations that consist of foods and supplements, based on the individual molecular data, to support healthy homeostasis. They report that their precision nutritional recommendations resulted in improvements in clinical outcomes by 36% in severe cases of depression, 40% in severe cases of anxiety, 38% in severe cases of IBS, and more than 30% in the T2D risk score which was validated against clinical measurement of HbA1c. The read the full article, click here.
March 1, 2021 [American Heart Association] Higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of death in men and women, according to data representing nearly 2 million adults. Five daily servings of fruits and vegetables, eaten as 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables, may be the optimal amount and combination for a longer life. These findings support current U.S. dietary recommendations to eat more fruits and vegetables and the simple public health message ‘5-a-day.’ The read the full article report, click here
February 13, 2021 [mgbhealth] Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD, Director of the Personalized Nutrition Initiative is in the news in the article “An RD Digests The New Dietary Guidelines For Americans, 2020–2025” that reviews the new Dietary Guidelines 2020-2025: And while nutrient needs differ by life stage, our overall dietary patterns (quantity, variety, and foods that are consumed together) are surprisingly stable throughout life. “What is striking is that after age 2, healthy dietary patterns are remarkably consistent across the life span,” says Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee member Sharon Donovan, Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutrition and director of the personalized nutrition initiative at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. The read the full article, click here.
November 7, 2020 [University of Illinois] A new breakthrough by Illinois ECE researchers will make it easier to detect, prevent, and treat nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). The research team’s methods use noninvasive ultrasound, that could be used during a routine physical, to measure the amount of fat in the liver. The discovery could have a major impact on the prognoses of millions of people suffering from NAFLD around the world.
The research, led by Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Professor William D O’Brien, Jr., Donald Biggar Willet Professor of Engineering, and Research Assistant Professor Aiguo Han, Food Science and Human Nutrition Professor John Erdman at UIUC, along with UCSD colleagues Professor Claude Sirlin (radiologist), Professor Rohit Loomba (hepatologist) and Professor Michael Andre (medical physicist), was recently published in two Radiology papers.
Early detection of liver fat changes offers the potential to halt or reverse increasing liver fat that could lead to disease which is why O’Brien and Erdman have spent several decades investigating how to improve early-detection techniques. Full Press Release
Campus Press Release – Exercise and nutrition regimen benefits physical, cognitive health
Campus Press Release – Machine learning helps researchers identify bacterial biomarkers to determine food intake
July 16, 2020 [University of Illinois Campus Press Release] Donovan to lead Illinois Personalized Nutrition Initiative
Sharon Donovan, professor and Melissa M. Noel Endowed Chair in Diet and Health at University of Illinois, will assume the role of director of the newly established Personalized Nutrition Initiative (PNI). The PNI is a partnership between the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) at U of I. Precision or personalized nutrition, which was identified as a key area for strategic investment in the U of I’s The Next 150 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, is also a keystone of the new National Institutes of Health 10-year Strategic Plan for Nutrition.