The long-term goal of the Human Nutrition Research Program is to examine how physical exercise and dietary factors such as fat, total calories, fiber and antioxidants contribute to development and prevention of cardiovascular disease and obesity. Obesity is one of the most serious health problems in the United State affecting about 33% of adult Americans 20 – 74 years of age. In previous studies, effects of dietary factors on energy metabolism, blood pressure, lipid metabolism and catecholamine metabolism were examined using several animal models.
The aim of the current human nutrition research project is to understand causes, prevention and treatment of obesity, especially in underserved minority populations. Studies using both human subjects and animal models of obesity have examined relationships among diet, energy balance, exercise and cardiovascular disease risk factors such as blood pressure, plasma leptin and C-reactive peptide (CRP) levels, insulin resistance and blood lipid profile. The human nutrition research program recently obtained an instrument to accurately measure human body composition. The Bod Pod Professional Body Composition Tracking System is now available to measure total body fat and lean tissue in human subjects. This is proving to be a very useful tool to measure changes in total body fat in subjects enrolled in the human nutrition research programs at Lincoln University.
Studies continue in this area to examine the causes and impacts of obesity in minority populations. A particular focus in this area is the causes and prevention of obesity, in both youth and adults. A recently approved project will focus on the effects of dietary Omega-3 Fatty acids on the biomarkers of cardiovascular disease in obese individuals.
Detection and identification of bacteria and food pathogen is an essential step in food safety inspection. Research is conducted in the area of food safety will develop a novel 3-dimensional (3-D) interdigitated microelectrode array (IDE) based impedance biosensor. This biosensor will be capable of rapid detection and selectively identifying E. coli O157:H7. This design is unique in the use of a 3-D IDE which increases the surface area compared to a single (2-D) IDE sensor. The increased surface area will enhance the sensitivity of impedance detection. Efforts are currently underway to hire an additional person in food safety that will have a split research and extension appointment.