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Sackler Center for Biomedicine and Nutrition

Founded in 2014, the Sackler Center for Biomedicine and Nutrition at The Rockefeller University is dedicated to understanding how nutrition combined with other factors—including individual genetic profile and the influence of commensal microbiota—may lead to healthy metabolic function or to such adverse health conditions as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The Center supports basic research conducted at the biochemical, genomic, and molecular levels, as well as patient-based studies.

Topics under examination include:

  • the biological effects of diets weighted toward higher fat, carbohydrate, or protein
  • obesity and associated inflammation as factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease and cancer
  • brown and beige adipose tissue: their connection to weight gain or loss and associated conditions
  • the epigenetic regulation of metabolic functions
  • the impact of supplementation with vitamin D and other micronutrients, rigorously studied
  • neuroendocrine pathways that help to regulate appetite and energy expenditure

Under the directorship of Jan L. Breslow, M.D., a leading investigator of the molecular genetics of cholesterol metabolism, the Sackler Center encourages scientists to focus on questions of critical importance in nutrition research. The Center draws new investigators into the field by offering pilot grants for innovative projects, stimulates interaction among scientists through seminars and meetings, and trains future leaders in nutrition research through its prestigious program of Sackler Fellowships.

The Rockefeller University Hospital provides an array of services for the Sackler Center’s clinical investigators, from protocol design to patient recruitment to data analysis. The Hospital’s Bionutrition Department works closely with scientists to develop and prepare special diets and conduct nutritional analysis of food records and diet questionnaires, while the Metabolic Assessment Core provides state-of-the-art equipment for body composition analysis and other diagnostic services. Scientists associated with the Sackler Center for Biomedicine and Nutrition may also make use of the Hospital’s inpatient unit and outpatient research center for clinical studies.