The Nutrient Metabolism, Status, and Assessment program supports basic and clinical studies related to the absorption, metabolism, bioavailability, and requirements of nutrients and other dietary components. This includes research on processes at the organ, cellular, and subcellular levels in normal and diseased states. Suitable studies include those that explore how the nutritional status of an organism, such as over-nutrition and under-nutrition, affects physiological and metabolic functions contributing to the pathophysiology of diseases of interest to the NIDDK. Specific areas of interest include the role of gut-brain signals in nutrient sensing; mechanisms of action/interaction of nutrients within the body; the process of food digestion in the gastrointestinal tract; and the absorption and transport of water, ions, sugars, amino acids/peptides, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and other macromolecules and bioactive components. Other supported studies include those that explore modifications of nutrient metabolism due to genetic variation, altered gut barrier function, and/or in response to stress, circadian and diurnal variations, drug use, toxicants, and physical activity in health and disease. The program also supports studies that explore how dietary modifications affect gene regulation and expression at the transcriptional, translational, epigenetic, and functional level, including associated omic technologies.
Appropriate studies explore the impact of dietary modification on the human gut microbiome or of altered gut microbiome on nutrient absorption, gut barrier function, and permeability and metabolism. Studies related to prebiotic and probiotic metabolism and associated microbiome changes and host physiology are also appropriate.
This program also supports studies that explore mathematical models contributing to the understanding of whole-body energy balance and metabolism, and of metabolic fluxes in cells, tissues, and organs. A particular focus of interest is on models that allow the integration of data gained from a variety of technical approaches, such as tracer studies, calorimetry, plasma hormone/cytokines, metabolomics, genomics, epigenomics, and proteomics, and on those models that would be of clinical utility, including prediction of plasma glucose levels in diabetes, nutritional partitioning, nutritional status, and weight management.
The program supports research on specific metabolic considerations related to alternative forms of nutrient delivery and use, such as total parenteral nutrition. Other supported studies involve research for improving methods to determine dietary intake and compliance, including dietary recall methodologies and questionnaires; novel approaches for collecting information on dietary intake; and the development of methods and assays for assessing nutritional status and for determining specific nutritional requirements in health and disease.