UC Davis awarded a US$12.9M grant to study the potential of precision nutrition, featuring customized diet recommendations to promote health and prevent disease; the study is based on optimizing food and dietary patterns for each person

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SACRAMENTO, California , January 24, 2022 (press release) –

Five-year ‘All of Us’ study could accelerate breakthroughs to prevent and treat diseases

The UC Davis All of Us Research Program has been awarded a five-year, $12.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the potential of customized diet recommendations to promote health and prevent disease, known as precision nutrition. The unique study is based on optimizing food and dietary patterns for each person.

UC Davis is one of fourteen institutions to receive funding for the Nutrition for Precision Health study

"Recommendations for optimal nutrition tend to focus on ‘one-size-fits-all,’ but in the future, we will see more emphasis on personalized public health,” said Sean Adams, a professor in the Department of Surgery. Adams is the scientific director for the UC Davis Center for Alimentary and Metabolic Science and is part of the project’s principal investigator team. 

Precision nutrition involves creating customized diet recommendations for individuals based on their unique characteristics. It has the potential to prevent and treat diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer, and to improve overall health and function across a person’s lifespan.   

The project is funded by the NIH Nutrition for Precision Health (NPH) initiative and involves investigators from the UC Davis School of MedicineCollege of Agricultural and Environmental SciencesUSDA Agricultural Research Service on the UC Davis campus, UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and the Cedars-Sinai Community and Population Health Research Center.

“NPH will take into account an individual’s genetics, gut microbes, and other lifestyle, biological, environmental, or social factors to help each individual develop eating recommendations that improve overall health,” said Holly Nicastro, NPH coordinator. 

Research insights from a million people

The All of Us Research Program is an ambitious effort led by the NIH to collect genetic, biological, environmental, health and lifestyle data from more than a million people living in the U.S. The data is being used to answer questions that will help improve public health and treat diseases. The nutrition study, NPH, will add yet another component to provide a more complete picture of better health. 

Alexander Borowsky

We engage and empower our participants in the process through representation, advice, plans and protocols. But more importantly, we allow them to learn what the researchers find, and take action from the results we return to them.”—Alexander Borowsky

“Participants in the All of Us Research Program study are our partners. It is a major team effort,” said Alexander Borowsky, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and the principal investigator for the grant. 

The study presents an opportunity for participants to contribute to research and learn about their health. For example, individuals might learn about genetic traits, medicines that may work best for them, personal disease risks and other health parameters. 

“We engage and empower our participants in the process through representation, advice, plans and protocols. But more importantly, we allow them to learn what the researchers find, and take action from the results we return to them,” said Borowsky.   

Precision nutrition – a new approach to health 

All of Us will contribute data from existing participants who agree to be a part of the NPH study. That may include genomics, electronic health records, and survey data, such as information on daily life experiences, family health and more. 

This rich information will be measured in a diverse pool of 10,000 participants, allowing the NPH team to identify factors that define specific physiologic responses to different foods and to see how these responses associate with health.  

The unprecedented research effort will be one of the largest, most diverse precision nutrition efforts in the country.  

“Food brings people together, and this unique nutrition component of the All of Us Research Program has great potential to communicate to people the value of biomedical research,” said Hugo Campos, a participant ambassador in the UC Davis All of Us Research Program since 2018. 

Campos' enthusiasm for the All of Us Research Program is driven in part by his background. He has a chronic genetic condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood.   

“The inclusion of participants with all types of health status as partners is what makes All of Us so unique,” said Campos. 

How to get involved in the All of Us Research Program

A group of 17 people gather together in front of a large colorful painting.
Pre-pandemic photo of the All of Us team at UC Davis.

UC Davis Health is currently recruiting and enrolling adults for the All of Us Research Program. The nutrition component is expected to begin in January 2023. Everyone 18 and older is eligible to join. 

To learn more about the All of Us Research Program, please visit the allofus.ucdavis.edu website. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the UC Davis All of Us Research Program team at allofus@ucdavis.edu or 916-502-5605.

All of Us and Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us Research Program, are service marks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

About the NIH Common Fund: The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high-impact, trans-NIH programs. Common Fund programs are managed by the Office of Strategic Coordination in the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives within the NIH Office of the Director in partnership with the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices. More information is available at the Common Fund website: https://commonfund.nih.gov.

About the All of Us Research Program: The mission of the All of Us Research Program is to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all of us. The program will partner with one million or more people across the United States to build the most diverse biomedical data resource of its kind, to help researchers gain better insights into the biological, environmental, and behavioral factors that influence health. For more information, visit www.ResearchAllofUs.orgwww.joinallofus.org, and https://www.allofus.nih.gov/.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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