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  • Bionutrition Core

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  • The Bionutrition Core is committed to promoting health and nutrition science through the pursuit of clinical research. The Bionutrition Core is comprised of a Metabolic Research Kitchen and a Body Composition Lab. The core provides well-controlled diets for all research participants to meet the nutritional requirements of research protocols, nutrition assessment, nutrient analysis, and a variety of methods of measuring body composition including DEXA, bio-impedance and anthropometry. The unit facilitates communication and collaboration among investigators with an interest in nutrition and provides training opportunities for medical students, graduate students and dietetic interns.

    Bionutrition Manager: Kay Umeakunne, MS, RD was a Bionutrition Manager and member of the Emory GCRC Scientific Advisory Committee before transferring to Morehouse. She also served with the National Kidney Disease Education Program Coalition of Dietitians and is a Partner in the Take Charge of Your Health Task Force of the Georgia Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative. She manages the administrative functions of the Bionutrition Core, including overseeing the metabolic kitchen, personnel management, procurement of equipment and supplies, design and development of research diets, menus and meal production schedules, data analysis, data management, quality control, manuscript writing and implementation of all nutrition aspects of research protocols.

    Ms. Umeakunne assists investigators in the design of the nutritional component of research grants. She also serves as an instructor for the Morehouse School of Medicine medical school biochemistry course. The Bionutrition Research Manager provides training and mentoring to students in the Masters of Medical Science program, investigators, medical students and dietetic interns.

    The Nutrition Unit and Metabolic Kitchen operates from 7:00 am to 6:30 pm, Monday through Friday in two shifts, 7:00 am to 3:30 pm and 10:00 am to 6:30 pm. The Bionutrition Manager rotates hours depending upon the needs of the CRC. The Nutrition unit is staffed with 1 Bionutrition Research Manager and 1 Bionutrition Assistant who is responsible for preparation of research diets, distribution of subject meals, food compositing for chemical analysis, maintaining food inventory and monitoring equipment. The Bionutrition Assistant also assists the Bionutrition Research Manager with food record analysis and subject interviews. Responsibility will also include maintaining kitchen safety and sanitation standards according to HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), local environmental health agency (Fulton County Health Department Environmental Services) and OSHA regulations.

    Research Protocols: The CRC Bionutrition Core has 4 active protocols and 2 proposed pilot projects. These studies require controlled nutrient research diets, nutrition intervention, body composition, and compliance monitoring.

    Education and Training: This Core provides a unique opportunity for education and skill training of investigators, medical students, dietetic interns and graduate students in the Masters of Medical Science Program. Dietetic students could meet their requirement for a research experience for credentialing eligibility by the American Dietetic Association. Cross-training of other CRC and investigator staff will enhance opportunities for more nutrition research protocols in the Morehouse CRC. The Bionutrition Research Manager serves as an instructor in the Morehouse School of Medicine biochemistry course for second year medical students.

    The MSM Clinical Research Center Bionutrition Core will also serve as a center for excellence in training young students in elementary through high school on nutrition. The Bionutrition Core maintains a partnership with the Atlanta Fernbank Science Center and provides a teaching experience for elementary and middle school students on nutrition and physical activity. Students attend a 2 hour lecture and hands-on lab in the MSM Clinical Research Center and complete a pre- and post knowledge questionnaire. Students receive exposure to methodology used to determine body composition and energy requirements in efforts to educate them on energy balance and prevent overweight and obesity at an early age.

    Community Outreach: The MSM/CRC Bionutrition Core actively participates in CRC community outreach programs providing nutrition screenings, body composition assessment, and nutrition education.

    Bionutrition Core Organizational Chart