This division of Nutritional Biochemistry and Genomics is the center of biochemical and molecular investigations within the nutrition department. The division has been in existence since the formation of the Department of Nutrition Sciences in 1977. It is also the origin of other current and former divisions within the department.
The division was formerly known as the Division of Nutritional Biochemistry and later as the Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The name changes, including the current name, reflect the interest of division faculty members in understanding how nutrients and nutrition-related genes and pathways are involved in human metabolism and disease at the biochemical and molecular levels.
Scientific backgrounds of faculty members are varied and include terminal degrees (PhD and/or MD) in biochemistry, nutrition, microbiology, molecular genetics, molecular biology, or medicine. The current research interests of division faculty members include
- the molecular genetics of nutrition-related, heterogeneous complex traits, particularly type 2 diabetes;
- folate, purine nucleotide and anti-folate metabolism;
- inborn errors of metabolism;
- cancer chemoprevention;
- molecular events in tumorigenesis;
- gene-gene, gene-nutrient and gene-environment interactions and impact on the development and prognosis of cancers of the lung, oral cavity and cervix;
- role of homocysteine in connective tissue disorders; and
- gene expression and regulation in lipid metabolism, particularly in atherosclerosis and diabetes.
Division faculty members receive support for their research from a variety of internal and extramural sources, including NIH and DOD.
Members of the division participate in the nutrition department’s M.S. and Ph.D. programs by providing lectures in a classroom setting and hands-on training in laboratory skills and techniques. They also serve as graduate study mentors for students in the graduate programs within the nutrition department and in other departments in which they hold secondary faculty appointments.
Division faculty members are also active members of a number of research centers on campus, including the:
- Clinical Nutrition Research Center;
- Comprehensive Cancer Center;
- Center for Metabolic Bone Disease;
- Center for Aging;
- Cell Adhesion and Matrix Research Center; and
- Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Center.