The Pennington Biomedical (PBRC)/Louisiana Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) was initially established in 2005 to facilitate and promote collaborative and multi-disciplinary interactions to foster new research ideas and enhance the translation of basic nutritional research findings into the clinical arena and ultimately into practical application. In agreement with the reviewers' feedback, we have now expanded from our original theme of nutritional programing to emphasize the more general theme of nutrition, obesity and metabolic health through the lifespan. Like most of the NIDDK NORCs, our research base is related to the metabolic consequences of nutrition on health and diseases. During this upcoming NORC cycle, we plan to progressively develop research teams focusing on 3 critical periods of the life cycle: 1) Maternal/Infant nutritional status and metabolic consequences; 2) Pediatric and Adulthood Obesity and metabolic health; 3) Nutritional status at older age to preserve physical and cognitive functionality. These three research foci will lead to the formation of Research Teams to address big research questions from the basic science level, to clinical investigation and finally to the population in a translational way. In each of these teams, research will focus on th mechanisms involved in health and disease, the study of treatment intervention and the implementation of preventive strategies. The long standing tradition of nutrition and obesity research at Pennington Biomedical provides an ideal academic environment to undertake interdisciplinary efforts to investigate the environmental and molecular interactions to cause obesity and impair metabolic health (metabolic syndrome). With our past 5 years extension of resources (faculty, clinical space, equipment, and support personnel), and an established cadre of outstanding scientists, a Pennington NORC catalyzes novel nutrition and obesity research around the targeted theme. We now have a research base of > $21 million/year in direct cost with 40 regular members with NIH funding or equivalent and another 89 collaborating members at Pennington and across the country For this 3rd grant funding cycle, the goals of the Pennington/Louisiana NORC are: 1. To stimulate and support new and innovative research in nutrition and obesity among investigators at Pennington and in Louisiana by enhancing interaction between basic, clinical and public health scientists; 2. To provide state-of-the-art an cost-effective Scientific Cores, which provide efficient high quality services, develop new methods and provide consultation to users, in particular NIDDK-funded project PIs; 3. To enhance the translation of discoveries in basic science to human clinical investigation in obesity and nutrition research by incentivizing cross-talk and research collaboration among disciplines; 4. To attract new investigators to the field of nutrition by reaching out to scientists across Louisiana and the country and by encouraging and facilitating the use of our NORC resources; 5. To progressively develop research teams focusing on 3 periods of the life cycle: 1) Maternal/Infant nutritional status; 2) Pediatric and Adulthood Obesity and metabolic health; 3) Nutritional status at older age to preserve physical and cognitive functionality. 6. To provide a Pilot and Feasibility program to expand the sphere of obesity & metabolic health research; 7. To foster and enhance the development of junior NORC members (postdocs and junior faculty) as independent and creative investigators via mentoring, specialized training, advice from core leaders; 8. To coordinate and promote community outreach activities in the greater Baton Rouge area and in Louisiana by providing nutrition education, nutrition and health assessments, and nutritional interventions, which promote wellness, improve health and reduce obesity; 9. To promote the translation of research findings by promoting efficient and effective communication that might not otherwise happen, among NORC members and those in clinical and health services research.

Public Health Relevance

Excess body weight with resulting metabolic consequences is the major driver for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus and considerably increases risks for cardiovascular diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, many forms of cancers and other chronic diseases. The Pennington/Louisiana Nutrition Obesity Research Center is articulated around three scientific cores providing opportunities to perform innovative research and a real potential to advance the field of nutrition, obesity and metabolic health through the lifespan

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Center Core Grants (P30)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZDK1)
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Evans, Mary
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Lsu Pennington Biomedical Research Center
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Baton Rouge
United States
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