As we enter the 21st century, nutrition is increasingly being recognized as a major modulator of human development, function and disease prevention. Major gaps exist in our understanding of the mechanisms whereby nutritional regulatory processes occur. The program outlined herein describes plans to help fill these gaps through research in molecular nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, nutritional epidemiology and public health. These plans take advantage of the fact that the Columbia Health Sciences campus is an extraordinary resource for students of nutrition. A tremendous amount of research in all fields of biomedicine and public health takes place on this campus. The Institute, as part of this enterprise, interacts with investigators in many fields and is able to give students access to the complete range of laboratories conducting research relevant to nutrition. At the same time, research by Institute faculty brings the field of nutrition ever closer to biomedical science as well as all medical and many public health fields, all represented at Columbia.
We invite you to spend a few moments with us as we highlight the multiple training and research opportunities available in one of the most exciting places to study, the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University.
Richard J. Deckelbaum, M.D., C.M., Director
The mission of the Institute of Human Nutrition (IHN) is to provide outstanding academic, professional education, and training programs in human nutrition and conduct basic science and translational research on the role of nutrition in human health. The scope of the Institute’s programs includes projects, symposia and other initiatives for health practitioners, scientists, policy-makers, educators, and individuals that advance understanding of the importance of nutrition for individuals and populations worldwide.
In keeping with its mission, the Institute of Human Nutrition conducts, coordinates, and leads nutrition research and education activities throughout Columbia University and its affiliated institutions. These activities include basic research, clinical research, public health–preventive medicine programs, and education and training at many levels. A long-standing mission of the Institute is to train individuals for scholarly activities and for positions in universities and research centers that are in the forefront of the movement to advance nutrition as a health science.
In addition, the Institute seeks to augment the training of physicians and other health specialists who are interested in emphasizing nutrition in their professions. The Institute provides a key infrastructure to academic nutrition activities carried out within many faculties, departments, and centers at the University.
The structure of each of these units, the research being conducted within them, and the programs of instruction offered are outlined in subsequent sections of this bulletin. Although each unit conducts its own program of research and training, its work is coordinated to achieve two basic goals: to conduct research to advance knowledge of nutrition, and to provide training in areas of nutrition relevant to the physician and the scientist. To achieve this coordination, combined research projects among the units are under way, and joint seminars and courses are conducted regularly involving faculty members and students in all units.
Members of the Institute of Human Nutrition hold appointments in over 18 academic departments within the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Joseph L. Mailman School of Public Health, and the various divisions of Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. These faculty members, in addition to expertise in their own disciplines, have research and teaching interests relevant to the mission of the Institute of Human Nutrition.