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Click here to see this online

Volume 2, Issue 6
June 2021


Director's Corner


The summer is off to a great start. We have already accepted 49 Affiliates from 18 units on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. One goal of the Personalized Nutrition Initiative is to assist Affiliates in establishing new transdisciplinary collaborations to further our understanding of factors that contribute to individualized responses to variations in dietary intake. Hence, we have started our first research “match-making” effort with the goal of partnering Affiliates who have existing data sets with data scientists to generate new and innovative approaches to analyzing the data. In addition to leading to new insights, we hope that this match-making effort will generate new collaborative funding proposals, including the soon to be announced call for Personalized Nutrition Initiative Seed Grants.

In addition, we have five companies who have joined our inaugural External Partner Program already and we are currently planning our first meeting that will be held virtually in September. The 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.

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.

I hope to see you at the panel discussion next week that I am speaking at “Personalized Nutrition Research- What is the Science telling us” on Tuesday, June 29, 12:45-1:15 EDT which is part of the Personalized Nutrition Innovation Summit (June 28-29).

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


Campus Affiliates


Our Campus Affiliates are listed on our website. In addition, the Affiliates can be displayed be sorted by  Personalized Nutrition Initiative Research Theme area and the cross-cutting Physiological States or System and Data Acquisition and Analytics approaches.

Want to become an Affiliate? We are accepting applications from tenure-track faculty and professional researchers on the Urbana-Champaign campus to be affiliated with the Personalized Nutrition Initiative. Click here to Learn More and 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.




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


Evidence-based precision nutrition improves clinical outcomes by analyzing human and microbial molecular data with artificial intelligence


(bioRxiv, April 26, 2021) A new publication by Janelle Connell et al. of Viome, Inc. in bioRxiv demonstrated that their data precision technology platform supports the integration of precision food and supplements into the standard of care for people with depression, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Their platform focuses on personalized, and data-driven nutritional recommendations that consist of foods and supplements, based on the individual molecular data, to support healthy homeostasis. They report that their precision nutritional recommendations resulted in improvements in clinical outcomes by 36% in severe cases of depression, 40% in severe cases of anxiety, 38% in severe cases of IBS, and more than 30% in the T2D risk score which was validated against clinical measurement of HbA1c. The read the full article, click here.


DayTwo Raises $37 M to Help Manage Metabolic Diseases Through Personalized Nutrition


(NoCamels, June 1, 2021) Israeli startup DayTwo, a company that developed a personalized health platform based on the gut microbiome, raised $37 million this week to continue developing solutions that help people improve their health and manage diabetes and other metabolic diseases through nutrition, the company announced.

The company’s platform provides microbiome-based, customized nutrition recommendations and diagnostic solutions backed by AI and machine learning. DayTwo’s initial product enables glycemic control and is targeted for people with type 2 diabetes, helping them balance blood sugar levels, lower HbA1C, and manage their weight using a food-as-medicine approach personalized to the subject’s clinical and personal traits.

The new investment will fund more research “into the links between the bacteria in our bodies and other diseases, and the development of new algorithms, to provide new scientific discoveries,” Lev indicated. The read the full article, click here.


External Funding Opportunities


Data Generation Projects for the NIH Bridge to Artificial Intelligence (Bridge2AI) Program


Letter of Intent Deadline: July 20, 2021
Application Deadline: August 20, 2021


Purpose: The Bridge2AI Program seeks to bridge the biomedical and behavioral research communities with the rapidly growing community of experts developing AI/ML models by producing flagship datasets that adhere to the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reproducible) and critically integrate ethical considerations in preparing data for computation. The program will use biomedical and behavioral research grand challenges (see illustrative list below) to drive the development of ethics, standards, tools, data sets, and skills and workforce development strategies for linking scientific workflows, protocols, and other information about the data collection process into computable knowledge. Data sets may be linked to existing clinical, environmental and surveillance data as required by the chosen grand challenges. The overall goal of the Bridge2AI Program is to generate flagship datasets and best practices for the collection and preparation of AI/ML-ready data to address biomedical and behavioral research grand challenges. The Bridge2AI program will require multiple scientific domains to come together with data science, data management and analytic experts to unlock the potential of AI/ML for the scientific community.

Guidelines: Click here for the Funding Opportunity 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.


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