Illinois Tech selected as registration site for landmark NIH initiative to advance nutrition research

The Illinois Institute of Technology is one of 14 institutions chosen as the registration site for the National Institute of Health’s landmark initiative to advance nutrition research. Nutrition for Precision Health (NPH), powered by the All of Us research program, strives to engage 10,000 participants from diverse backgrounds across the United States with the goal of discovering how our bodies react differently to food .

NPH will use artificial intelligence-based approaches to analyze the information provided by participants to develop algorithms that predict responses to eating habits. The study results may one day allow healthcare providers to offer more personalized nutritional advice 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 we have now, we still might not achieve optimal health because our body reacts differently to food,” said Holly Nicastro. , Ph.D., MPH, NPH Coordinator. “Through this study, we seek to better understand differences in individual responses and pave the way for more personalized guidelines in the future.”

Illinois Tech, in conjunction 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 a survey of the elements specific distinctive diets after assessing people’s usual diet and their body’s response to a standard meal challenge. A comprehensive analysis of the blood, urine and gut microbiome of people on the different diets -; as well as factors such as genes, lifestyle, medical history and social determinants of health; will feed extremely rich data allowing predictive AI models to create personalized diet recommendations to reduce public health issues such as obesity, blood pressure control, diabetes, and more.

“We are thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking project that uses cutting-edge analytical and computational technologies and engages diverse communities in the scientific process,” said Britt Burton-Freeman, professor and director of the Center for Nutrition Research and president of the Illinois Department of Food Science and Nutrition of Tech. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ diet, and through this study we hope to glean insights that will lead to more personalized dietary advice, empowering individuals to make food and nutrition choices that best serve their health. and their well-being.”

To participate in NPH, individuals must be 18 years of age or older and must be enrolled or already enrolled in the NIH All of Us(link is external) research program. All of Us is an effort to engage at least 1 million participants in creating a health database that reflects the diversity of the United States, to help accelerate medical research and enable prevention options , treatment and individualized care.

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

NPH will link study participant data to information obtained through the All of Us research program, including genetic information and data from electronic health records and supplemental surveys. The study will leverage advances in AI to analyze this large amount of participant data to develop algorithms that predict how a person will react to a particular food or diet based on a variety of factors. All of this data will eventually be accessible through All of Us’ data platform, the Researcher Workbench(link is external), to support many more health and disease studies. Strict safeguards are in place to ensure data security and protect participant privacy.

“Nutrition may be one of the most powerful medicines we have, but it’s among the least understood,” said Geoffrey Ginsburg, MD, Ph.D., All of Us medical and scientific director. By leveraging the All of Us infrastructure and platform, NPH will set itself apart from other nutrition studies in its breadth and diversity.The value of NPH will be amplified by the research community as new types of data become available. widely available in the Researcher Workbench to explore and advance our understanding of nutrition and health.”


Illinois Institute of Technology


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