Funding Priority

Seeding the Field of Discovery

Innovation is a process, a series of steps that begins with imagination and ends with something of social value. At UNC Nutrition Research Institute, our scientists start by conceiving something new, or looking at an existing nutrient or metabolic pathway from an entirely novel viewpoint.

UNC Nutrition Research Institute

    Science Innovation Fund 

    UNC NRI scientists conduct experiments to prove their concepts are viable, and then seek federal grants to secure the millions of dollars needed to fully test the value of the science. The UNC NRI Innovation Fund provides seed funding that allows our scientists the freedom to pursue revolutionary ideas in order to make revolutionary discoveries. This fund keeps our scientists in their labs working towards discovery, rather than in an office seeking pilot funding.

    Katie Meyer, Sc.D., is one of many UNC NRI faculty members leading her field through innovative research. Dr. Meyer and her team explore the gut microbiome, a complex community of microorganisms living in our lower intestine.Recent technological advances are allowing researchers such as Dr. Meyer to begin to define the composition and function of this dynamic community.

    Unlike our genetic make-up, the gut microbiome is modifiable, and it is shaped, in part, by diet. But, there are critical gaps in the understanding of how specific dietary interventions alter the gut. Our research into the gut microbiome — associated with obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, immune disorders and even mood — is opening up new possibilities for discovery and health-promoting interventions.

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