Nutrigenomics studies the mutual interactions between nutrition and genes. These studies focus on, but are not limited to, the prevention of diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart attack, birth defects, and cancer by dietary compounds. In cases where disease already exist, discoveries from nutrigenomics research can still make meaningful contributions toward an improved prognosis or even the absence of any symptoms.

The Nebraska Gateway to Nutrigenomics (NGN) is using a multidisciplinary approach to develop nutrition intervention and treatment programs for optimal human health. NGN is a research-driven group, and participating faculty are world leaders in studies of how genes affect nutrient metabolism and how nutrients affect genes. NGN faculty and their research teams master a variety of core competencies such as molecular genetics, epigenomics, bioinformatics, proteomics, and plant and animal breeding for biomedical traits. Despite its focus on biomedical research, NGN recognizes that cultural, economic, educational, environmental, life stage, and geographical factors also play crucial roles in human health.

NGN is housed at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln but partners with investigators from the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the food and nutrition industry in its pursuit of improving human health and well-being.

Workforce development is an important goal the NGN’s mission and we offer a variety of opportunities for undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and professionals. Information regarding specific graduate programs can be found at the participating departments’ websites. (See Participating Units and Affiliated Departments.)  Nutrigenomics graduates and young professionals typically pursue careers in tier 1 research institutions, industry research and development, medical schools, and federal agencies.

NGN Objectives

  • Identify gene polymorphisms that predispose individuals and population subgroups to disease
  • Identify bioactive food compounds and develop dietary interventions to optimize health
  • Breed animals and plants for human biomedical traits (livestock and crop improvement)
  • Create a database with original research results that is openly accessible to stakeholders
  • Develop and foster a set of core skills and offer services to NGN faculty, non-NGN faculty, and stakeholders
  • Educate students and develop the workforce in nutritional genomics
  • Establish community outreach programs to educate the public and ethnic risk groups about nutrition and genetics, and dietary interventions for optimal health