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Click here to see this online

Volume 2, Issue 4
April 2021


Director's Corner


Spring is here and the end of the school year is approaching fast. For the past three months, we have been busy preparing a large $13 million NIH grant proposed titled “Artificial Intelligence and Modeling for Precision Nutrition (AIM4PN) Center”. We worked with 25 collaborators across campus from Computer Science, NCSA, iSchool, Statistics, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Biotechnology Center, Kinesiology and Community Health, Integrated Health Disparities, Animal Sciences, and Food Science and Human Nutrition. Saurabh Sinha (Computer Science) and I are the Co-Program Directors. If funded, this AIM4PN Center will be part of the NIH’s Nutrition for Precision Health Consortium that is integrated with the All of Us Research Program.

We have also established our research themes and cross-cutting approaches and are now accepting applications from tenure-track faculty and professional researchers on the Urbana-Champaign campus to be affiliated with the Personalized Nutrition Initiative (see below for more information). I will be holding two open Zoom information sessions if you would like to learn more about being an Affiliate. We will also be forming our Steering Committee and Internal and External Advisory Committees in the near future.

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

Learn more about the Affiliate Program by attending one of two information sessions via Zoom:

Wednesday, April 28, 3-4 PM
Meeting ID: 830 3651 8402                     Password: 196231

Friday, April 30, 1-2 PM

Meeting ID: 851 5115 4122                     Password: 654094


Personalized Nutrition Seminar – Spring 2021


The Personalized Nutrition Initiative organized the Division of Nutritional Science’s “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.

Recordings of the seminars are posted on the Personalized Nutrition Initiative website for everybody to watch.

We will have our last seminar on Wednesday, May, 5 via Zoom at 4-5 PM. Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 814 1581 8647                Password: 916199



Wednesday, May 5, 2021
Saurabh Sinha, PhD
Founder Professor and Willett Faculty Scholar, Department of Computer Science, Cancer Center of Illinois, and IGB, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Seminar Title: Data Analytics and Personalized Nutrition: Opportunities at Illinois




University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - 2021 Nutritional Sciences Symposium: Putting the "U" in Nutrition


Wednesday, April 21, 2021, 8:25 AM to 7 PM
Virtual Symposium,


The 2021 virtual Nutrition Symposium is hosted by the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Student Association (NSGSA) and Division of Nutritional Sciences. It will include student presentations, posters and a faculty mini-symposium from 12:30-2:30 PM:
12:30-1:00 PM Zeynep Madak-Erdogan, PhD
1:00-1:30 PM Manabu Nakamura, PhD, DVM
1:30-2:00 PM Margarita Teran-Garcia, MD, PhD, FTOS
2:00-2:30 PM Yuan-Xiang Pan, MS, PhD



The Keynote Address will be delivered at 4-5 PM:
Catherine Field, PhD, RD
CRC Tier 1 Chair in Human Nutrition and Metabolism
Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science
Faculty of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Science
University of Alberta, Canada
Improving immune development in the infant by altering the content of docosahexaenoic acid and form of choline in the maternal diet.


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.


In the News


Health Tech Company Hologram Sciences Launches Personalized Health & Nutrition Innovation With $100 Million Backing


(Hologram Sciences, April 05, 2021) Royal DSM, a global science-based company in nutrition, health and sustainable living, announced the launch of Hologram Sciences, a consumer-facing company that will create brands targeting various health conditions. By combining health diagnostics, digital coaching and personalized nutrition, Hologram Sciences brands will provide consumers with more holistic solutions to manage their health. The mission-driven company combines top Silicon Valley talent, formerly of Uber, Fitbit and Facebook.
Hologram Sciences is backed with a $100 million investment by Royal DSM, which has made personalized nutrition a key pillar in its nutrition strategy, allowing the company to combine a range of capabilities and resources to cover the entire personalized nutrition value chain all the way to the consumer. Hologram Sciences will provide state-of-the-art consumer-facing personalized nutrition solutions that have been clinically proven to address a variety of consumer health needs. As solutions are validated in-market, they will be available to DSM customers. Hologram will also work to incubate products with DSM customers and partners, based on the latest consumer insights and leveraging their agile approach. The read the full press release, click here.


External Funding Opportunities


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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