Faculty in our department are dedicated to finding innovative solutions to reduce the risk of obesity and chronic disease in our state and around the world. Through their research, our faculty contribute to evidence-based practices in the profession of dietetics and human nutrition.

Recently, we have received funding awards through national competitive processes from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; National Institute of Food and Agriculture; United States Department of Agriculture; National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension; American Livestock Breeds Conservancy; and Centers for Disease Control. We have gained notoriety with programs, such as Food Accessibility; Plate It Up Kentucky Proud; Children, Youth and Families at Risk; Home-based MicroprocessorsSuperfund Community Engagement Core; and Nutrition Outreach and Behavioral Internet Weight Loss.

Undergraduate students have research opportunities to prepare them for graduate and professional schools. They learn about the full process of research through a class project where they select their own research topic, develop a grant and appropriate study tools, complete the research and data analysis, and prepare a 15-page journal article and professional poster. Additionally, students have opportunities to gain research experience by working with faculty members in state-of-the-art food and nutrition assessment labs and in the community.

Through research, our students are making the world a better place.

Lucinda Smith headshot

Community Engagement Core Student Resesarcher

“Through my human nutrition classes, I have been able to learn about the importance of a good diet, and by working with the Community Engagement Core, I have learned more about the effects of nutrition on the body,” Smith said. “I have also had the opportunity to shadow a family doctor who specializes in chronic care to see how diet has contributed to her patients’ chronic diseases.”

Read Lucinda's story

Kaela Jackson headshot

Sustainability Summer Research Fellow

“I never thought that I would do research, but this is so exciting, and I love it,” Jackson said. “It’s getting out there and seeing things for what they are, like the collaboration of community during times of crisis. I’ve seen how much this pandemic has brought people together to achieve the same goals.” 

Read Kaela's story

Susanna Goggans headshot

ACTION Program Student Researcher

“My research requires a lot of advanced molecular biology,” Goggans said. “Already having the biochemical background from my human nutrition classes helped me to better understand how the fatty acid pathway was working.”

Read Susanna's story