Kay brings dietary phytochemical assays to NIH-funded project

North Carolina State University and three partner universities at the North Carolina Research Campus will share a five-year, $19.2 million grant, pending the availability of funds, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to examine personalized and precision nutrition.

Colin Kay, PhD

The award will fund the Metabolomics and Clinical Assays Center (MCAC), to be located at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, which will hold numerous studies that could lift the veil on how human health is influenced by relationships between dietary patterns and environmental, social, and behavioral factors. Metabolomics is an emerging field that holds promise to inform the practice of precision nutrition and medicine by producing a comprehensive picture of the molecular complexity of human tissue.

Colin Kay, an associate professor at NC State’s Plants for Human Health Institute, is a co-investigator on the award. The team award involves researchers co-located on the NCRC from UNC NRI, North Carolina State University, and The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, as well as collaborators at the McLendon Clinical Laboratories at UNC School of Medicine, and the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, Duke School of Medicine. Together, the team members contribute a unique suite of capabilities and broad experiences in the field of metabolomics, which in this case will be applied to deepen the understanding of the impact of nutrition on the chemistry of the human body.

“This award exemplifies the value of collaboration across four of our North Carolina universities, a mission of the NC Research Campus fulfilled,” said Mary Ann Lila, director of the Plants for Human Health Institute.

“I am proud and honored to be a part of such an important initiative,” Kay said. “The NIH Nutrition for Precision Health initiative is going to lead to positive change in nutrition and health for millions of individuals.”

The award is part of a larger $170 million five-year NIH initiative, pending availability of funds, supporting clinics and centers across the country for a program that will develop algorithms to predict individual responses to food and dietary patterns for supporting nutrition and precision health initiatives.

The MCAC is supported by the NIH Common Fund’s Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us Research Program grant U24 CA268153-01. To learn more about the Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us Research Program, view the informational video here.