‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌   ‌
Click here to see this online

Volume 2, Issue 5
May 2021


Director's Corner


Over the past eight months we have been meeting with colleagues in the food and pharmaceutical industry about how they would like to engage with our Personalized Nutrition Initiative at Illinois. Their suggestions have included precompetitive joint research projects, access to world-class faculty for technical testing and sponsored research, training programs and research webinars, analyses of data from cohorts of healthy populations across the lifespan, student projects, networking opportunities, and connections with start-up and small companies in the personalized nutrition space.

Based on these and other suggestions, we are pleased to announce our External Partner Program. Through our External Partner Program, a select number of colleagues will become inaugural members, serve on our External Advisory Committee, participate in a Personalized Nutrition Science Symposium, advise on our strategic goals and future structure of our External Partner Program, and discuss research priorities. The first company to join our External Partner Program is The Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition at General Mills.

If you are interested in learning more about our External Partner Program, please contact me or Dr. Alaina Kanfer, Director of External Relations, at akanfer@illinois.edu.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at any time with questions or suggestions.

Sharon Donovan, PhD, RD
Director, Personalized Nutrition Initiative


Call for Campus Affiliate Applications


After careful planning and consideration of input from faculty, administrators, and external partners, the Personalized Nutrition Initiative has identified its Research Themes and Cross-cutting Approaches and is now accepting applications from tenure-track faculty and professional researchers on the Urbana-Champaign campus to be affiliated with the Personalized Nutrition Initiative.

Affiliates with the Personalized Nutrition Initiative will hold a 0%-time appointment for 5-years and it will be renewable upon review of contributions to the Initiative in the previous 5-years. There is no tenure affiliated with the Initiative nor will office or lab space be provided through the Initiative. As an Affiliate, you will have the opportunity to participate in the following activities, among others:

  • Engage in interdisciplinary personalized nutrition-related research with affiliates and external Personalized Nutrition Initiative-associated entities;
  • Apply for Seed Grant funding to initiate new transdisciplinary personalized nutrition areas of research;
  • Participate in future Center, Program Project or Training grants;
  • Serve on the Personalized Nutrition Initiative Steering Committee; and
  • Provide and attend seminars and participate on panel discussions with internal and external audiences.

Click here to Apply


Recordings of the Personalized Nutrition Spring 2021 Seminars


If you missed any of the seminars from this spring or if you like to watch them again the recordings of the seminars are posted on the Personalized Nutrition Initiative website for everybody to watch.

The Personalized Nutrition Initiative organized the Division of Nutritional Sciences’ “Frontiers in Nutritional Sciences Seminar Series” on the topic of Personalized Nutrition –Challenges and Opportunities this Spring Semester. The seminar series featured external experts as well as research being conducted by our faculty and students across campus.




The Food as Medicine Summit


May 25-26, 2021
Virtual Summit,


Summit Purpose: The Food as Medicine Summit brings together multiple stakeholders from healthcare and the food industry for a networking and learning opportunity truly grounded in evidence. Learn the latest of the whole field, and address the key obstacles standing in the way of widespread adoption and success for evidence-backed food for health.


University of North Carolina Interdisciplinary Nutrition Sciences Symposium 2021- Heterogeneity in Obesity: Implications for Cancer and Related Obesity-Associated Outcomes


June 21-22, 2021
Virtual Symposium,



Symposium Focus: The symposium will focus on the heterogeneity of obesity through discussions of four important cancer- and obesity-related health issues: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, unresolved chronic inflammation, the obesity-cancer link, and weight management. Speakers who are leaders in these four areas will present followed by pragmatic and transdisciplinary panel discussions on successful engagement in cutting-edge science.


Personalized Nutrition Innovation Summit


June 28-29, 2021
Virtual Summit,


Symposium Focus: This Summit will provide the perfect forum for the CEO’s and founders of innovative personalized nutrition start-ups to meet with potential partners and investors. It will bring together CPG firms, supplement brands, and start-ups who are specializing in this space, to foster further partnerships and innovation.


In the News


Gut health company ZOE lands $20M to speed up program rollout


(mobihealthnews, May 06, 2021) ZOE, a Boston-based personal nutrition startup, has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by Ahren Innovation Capital. This latest cash infusion brings ZOE’s total funding to $53 million. After three years in stealth, ZOE released its first product in September of 2020. Based on the results of ZOE’s at-home gut health, blood sugar and blood fat tests, the company creates a personalized dietary plan for its users.

Before equipping users with a custom, 4-week nutrition plan, ZOE provides an insights report into how their body responds to foods. From there, users can look to ZOE’s corresponding app meal suggestions and feedback on what foods should or shouldn’t be eaten based on their ZOE score. The company also offers one-on-one support with a nutrition coach through the app for users on the premium plan, which costs $894 compared with the regular plan, which costs $354.

ZOE’s nutritional program has not been certified by the FDA and is meant for “general wellness purposes only,” according to its website. The company has, however, completed a number of clinical trials that show participants experienced more energy (90%), felt less hunger (80%), and lost an average of 11 pounds after three months of following their personalized plan. The read the full article, click here.


Wearable devices offer new insights into the progression of Type 2 diabetes in Latino adults


(News Medical Life Sciences, April 30, 2021) In one of the first studies of its kind, medical and engineering researchers have shown wearable devices that continuously monitor blood sugar provide new insights into the progression of Type 2 diabetes among at-risk Hispanic/Latino adults.

The findings by researchers from Sansum Diabetes Research Institute (SDRI) and Rice University are available online in EClinicalMedicine, an open-access clinical journal published by The Lancet.

"The fresh look at the glucose data sheds new light on disease progression, which could have a direct impact on better management," said Rice study co-author Ashutosh Sabharwal, professor and department chair in electrical and computer engineering and founder of Rice's Scalable Health Labs. "An important aspect of our analysis is that the results are clinically interpretable and point to new directions for improved Type 2 diabetes care."

"We are excited about the application of digital health technologies for underserved populations as a way to eliminate health disparities and improve health equity," David Kerr said (co-author). "This opens up potential for a larger number of collaborations to support SDRI's evolving focus on precision nutrition and also the expanded use of digital health technologies for both the prevention and management of all forms of diabetes." The read the full article, click here


External Funding Opportunities


DPI Research and Development Science Team Seed Grants


Application Deadline: May 31, 2021


Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) at Illinois invites you to apply for a DPI R&D Science Team Sead Grant.  Science teams should be interdisciplinary and interinstitutional with the goals of creating new economic value, answering significant research questions, and addressing societal challenges. Funding is typically up to $125k over 18 months.
Guidelines: Click here for the Program Solicitation Link


National Science Foundation and National Institute for Health- Smart Health and Biomedical Research in the Era of Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Data Science


Application Deadline: November 10, 2021


Purpose: This interagency program solicitation supports the development of transformative high-risk, high-reward advances in computer and information science, engineering, mathematics, statistics, behavioral and/or cognitive research to address pressing questions in the biomedical and public health communities. Transformations hinge on scientific and engineering innovations by interdisciplinary teams that develop novel methods to intuitively and intelligently collect, sense, connect, analyze and interpret data from individuals, devices and systems to enable discovery and optimize health. Solutions to these complex biomedical or public health problems demand the formation of interdisciplinary teams that are ready to address these issues, while advancing fundamental science and engineering.
Guidelines: Click here for the Program Solicitation


Stay Connected


Click here to join our mailing list and get updates from the Personalized Nutrition Initiative, including our newsletter. 


The Personalized Nutrition Initiative is a campuswide partnership between the Office of
the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation (OVCRI), the Carl R. Woese Institute
for Genomic Biology (IGB), and the College of Agricultural, Consumer and
Environmental Sciences (ACES).

Visit the Personalized Nutrition Initiative website for more information.


Subscribe   Unsubscribe This Email