The Bionutrition Core is committed to reducing health disparities in at risk ethnic minority populations and the underserved through the pursuit of excellence in nutrition research in both clinical and community settings. The core aims to:
- Support investigators conducting nutrition interventions by providing assistance with study development; assessments for dietary intake, body composition and energy expenditure; menus for diet studies, study implementation and compliance monitoring; dietary data analysis and management of core generated data
- Increase the number of investigators conducting nutrition research at MSM
- Provide a training environment to foster an increase in leadership in nutrition research from diverse populations
- Collaborate with investigators seeking to conduct diet and lifestyle modification interventions to prevent obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease
- Cultivate nutrition research to identify the molecular action of bioactive food components and their use in prevention of disease in minorities and the underserved through applications in epigenetics, nutrigenomics and metabolomics
- Promote global nutrition research studies and collaborations that focus on identification of dietary risk factors for disease development in migrant ethnic minorities transitioning to the US
The Bionutrition Core supports the Morehouse School of Medicine mission to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities with emphasis on people of color and the underserved. The core is committed to increasing the diversity of nutrition professionals in healthcare and science through the promotion of nutrition education, leadership and research necessary to understand and address the unequal burden of health disparities in ethnic minorities.
The Bionutrition Core is comprised of a Metabolic Research Kitchen and Body Composition Lab and provides the following services:
- Nutrition Assessment and Diet History: food records, food frequency questionnaires, mobile apps, chemical analysis
- Body Composition Assessments performed utilizing Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA),
- Anthropometry (skinfolds/circumferences) and Bioimpendance Analysis.
- Resting Energy Expenditure determined via Indirect Calorimetry
- Research Diet Design and Meals for Diet Intervention Studies
- Training for MSM Medical Students, Public Health Students and Dietetic Interns
- Protocol Development, Study Coordinator Cross-Training, CRFs and SOPs
- Dietary Data Analysis and Management: NDS-R, ESHA Food Processor SQL, ProNutra
Faculty and Staff Expertise
Bionutrition Core Manager: Kayellen Edmonds Umeakunne, MS, RD, LD is a Registered Dietitian with over 24 years experience as a Research Bionutritionist. Under her leadership the present MSM Bionutrition Core, including the Metabolic Research Kitchen and Body Composition Lab were established in 2004. Ms. Umeakunne is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), the National Association of Bionutritionists (NAB), the Dietetics Practice Groups (DPG) for Dietitians in Integrative & Functional Medicine and the DPG for Vegetarian Nutrition. Her prior experience includes 13 years as a Bionutrition Core Manager for the Emory University General Clinical Research Center where she established their body composition lab and participated in research involving diet and short bowel syndrome, chronic kidney disease, obesity, parkinson’s disease, sickle cell anemia, hypertension, dyslipidemia, galactasemia, tonsillopharyngitis, PKU, and MSUD. Ms. Umeakunne was also a research bionutritionist and study coordinator for the University of Pittsburgh where she worked with diet and gut microbiota research in US African Americans and rural Africans in Empangeni, South Africa. She recently completed a Nutrition Practicum in Nutrition and Cancer Prevention Research at the NIH in 2011 and is a current Research Scholar in the University of Alabama/MSM/Tuskegee University Health Disparities Research Training Program. At MSM, Ms. Umeakunne has also served as co-investigator, project director and study coordinator for the Hearts of Humanity Study which she presented as an oral original contribution at the 2009 Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In 2012, she served as an MSM site coordinator for a Clark Atlanta University collaborative study on risk reduction of prostate cancer in African American men. Ms. Umeakunne actively volunteers in the metro-Atlanta community.
Research Diet Technician: Wanda Montsho holds a Certificate in Culinary Nutrition Management. Ms. Wontsho previously worked with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) here in Georgia and is SafeServ certified in food safety through the National Restaurant Association.
Metabolic Research Kitchen
Phone: (404) 752-1965