The center is supported by a five-year, $6.5 million grant from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, a division of the National Institutes of Health.
Nutritional genomics, or "nutrigenomics," is the study of how different foods can interact with particular genes to increase the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and some cancers.
Many of these diseases are especially common among minority populations. For example, African American men have a 60 percent higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer than Caucasian men do. Half of all adult Pima Indians in the United States have type 2 diabetes, compared to 6.5 percent of adult Americans of Caucasian descent. Genetics, diet, economic and social conditions, culture and behavior may all contribute to these disparities.
"The research we'll be doing in the Nutrigenomics Center is one of the first examples of taking the benefits of human genome research from the lab to the home," said Ray Rodriguez, professor of molecular and cellular biology at UC Davis and director of the new center.
Noted Bertram Lubin, director of medical research at CHORI and deputy director of the new center, "Just as our work on sickle cell disease in African Americans has broadened our understanding of blood disorders, I believe that focusing our efforts on minority populations with significant health disparities will give us the answers to better health for all Americans."
"This new initiative illustrates the power of bringing
together a diverse group of experts to collaborate on a
common goal," said
Contact: Andy Fell
University of California - Davis