The Michigan Nutrition Obesity Research Center (MNORC) was initially funded in 2010 to support, integrate and enhance research related to obesity and nutrition among the faculty of the University of Michigan. The of the MNORC is to create an environment to encourage and enable researchers from preclinical, clinical and translational research disciplines to integrate advanced, phenotyping and computational tools to more fully define individual and population characteristics that arise in response to dietary nutrient composition or amount. This will be accomplished by providing core laboratory infrastructure, educational and training opportunities and large and small pilot grants to enhance research productivity. The MNORC has expanded the research infrastructure and Core offerings in response to the needs of the research community and has supported the expansion of nutrition and obesity research across the U-M campus. This is highlighted by the $2.6 million investment to expand pediatric obesity research and the creation of an epigenomics core and creation of in vitro and in vivo optogenetics capabilities in response to investigator needs. MNORC has 106 Research Base faculty with a total of annual direct grant support of $39,708, 277. The MNORC Cores include the Administrative Core, which will oversee and integrate the research, clinical and education functions of the Center, including an annual symposium, seminar series, training for undergraduates, dieticians, medical students, housestaff and fellows in the breadth of nutrition and obesity care and research; the Human Phenotyping Core, which will provide expertise and infrastructure for sophisticated metabolic and neurobehavioral testing of humans in inpatient and outpatient settings; the Molecular Phenotyping Core, which will continue supporting targeted and untargeted metabolomics profiling (enhanced by the $9.1 million funding of the Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core (U24)) as well as new initiatives in epigenomics and microbiome sciences; the Animal Phenotyping Core which will provide services for the metabolic and molecular phenotyping and increase the capability for neurobehavioral phenotyping of rodent models by supporting optogenetics technology; and the Integrative Biostatistics and Informatics Core, which will provide personnel to assist investigators in design of experiments that integrate molecular and clinical phenotyping, database development, and advanced bioinformatics tools for integration, interpretation, visualization and reporting of molecular, metabolic and neurobehavioral data. The MNORC will continue to support the Weight Management Program which integrates research into a highly successful adult clinical weight loss program. Numerous investigators access the patients, biosamples and data collect through the program for their own research. In the next grant cycle, we will support research in a newly funded pilot project the Michigan Pediatric Comprehensive Weight Management Center. Through the next funding period, the MNORC will continue to communicate with the research base to identify new areas for support and adjust the service offerings consistent with the needs of the community.
Obesity has become a national problem that has defied easy treatment. The Michigan Nutrition Obesity Research Center will provide researchers the opportunity to utilize advanced technologies and computational tools to understand how causes of obesity vary among individuals and across the population. Through these efforts, health professionals will be able to translate these lessons to the design and implementation of novel dietary, exercise and medication interventions to control obesity and obesity-related diseases.
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