Illinois Tech Announced as Enrollment Partner in NIH’s AI Precision Nutrition Research, Largest Project of Its Kind
Ambitious research project aims to enroll 10,000 participants from diverse communities, using AI analysis to create a foundation for personalized dietary advice
CHICAGO—May 26, 2023—Illinois Institute of Technology is one of 14 institutions chosen as an enrollment site for the National Institute of Health’s landmark initiative to advance nutrition research. Nutrition for Precision Health (NPH), powered by the All of Us Research Program, is working to engage 10,000 participants from diverse backgrounds across the United States with the aim of learning about how our bodies respond differently to food.
NPH will use artificial intelligence–based approaches to analyze information provided by participants in order to develop algorithms that predict responses to dietary patterns. The study’s findings may one day allow healthcare providers to offer more customized nutritional guidance to improve overall health.
“Poor diet is one of the leading causes of preventable disease and death around the world. If everyone followed the healthy eating guidelines that we have available now, we still may not achieve optimal health because our bodies respond differently to food,” said Holly Nicastro, Ph.D., MPH, coordinator of NPH. “Through this study, we are looking to better understand differences in individual responses and pave the way for more tailored guidelines in the future.”
Illinois Tech, working with Northwestern University and the University of Chicago, will leverage the existing Illinois Precision Medicine Consortium (IPMC) to help All of Us Research Program participants join an investigation into the specific elements of distinctive dietary patterns after assessing people’s usual diet and their body’s response to a standard meal challenge. Comprehensive analysis of people’s blood, urine, and their gut microbiome under the different diets—along with factors including genes, lifestyle, health history, and the social determinants of health—will feed intensely rich data enabling AI predictive models to create personalized diet recommendations to reduce public health issues such as obesity, blood pressure control, diabetes, and more.
“We are excited to be a part of this revolutionary project that utilizes cutting-edge analytical and computational technologies and engages diverse communities in the scientific process,” says Britt Burton-Freeman, Professor and director of the Center for Nutrition Research and chair of Illinois Tech’s Department of Food Science and Nutrition. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ diet, and through this study, we hope to glean insights that will lead to more personalized dietary guidance, empowering individuals to make food and nutritional choices that will best serve their health and well-being.”
To participate in NPH, individuals must be aged 18 or over and must enroll in or already be enrolled in NIH’s All of Us Research Program(link is external). All of Us is an effort that aims to engage at least 1 million participants in building a health database that reflects the diversity of the U.S., to help speed up medical research and enable individualized prevention, treatment, and care options.
The NPH study consists of three components. All study participants will participate in the first component, while a subset will take part in the other two components. In the first component of the study, participants will be asked to complete surveys, report their daily diets, and provide blood, urine, and stool samples for lab tests, including microbiome analysis. In the second component, a subset of participants will be given diets selected by researchers. In the third component, participants will also be given diets selected by researchers but will be requested to reside in a research center while on the diets. Participants from all three components of the study will participate in meal challenge tests that measure biological changes after they consume a standardized study-provided meal or drink. Participants will receive interpreted information from the study on their health, including body fat percentage, microbiome makeup, metabolism, and diet composition.
NPH will link participants’ data from the study to information obtained through the All of Us Research Program, including genetics information and data from electronic health records and additional surveys. The study will leverage advances in AI to analyze this vast amount of data from participants to develop algorithms predicting how a person will respond to a particular food or diet based on various factors. All of this data will ultimately be accessible through All of Us’ data platform, the Researcher Workbench(link is external), to support many other studies on health and disease. Strict safeguards are in place to keep the data secure and protect participant privacy.
“Nutrition is perhaps one of the most powerful medicines we have available, but is among the least understood,” said Geoffrey Ginsburg, M.D., Ph.D., All of Us’ chief medical and scientific officer. “By tapping into the All of Us infrastructure and platform, NPH will be set apart from other nutrition studies by its scale and diversity. The value of NPH will be amplified by the research community as new data types are made broadly available in the Researcher Workbench to explore and advance our understanding of nutrition and health.”
To learn more about NPH and how to join the study, please visit nutritionforprecisionhealth.org.
The work described here is supported by the National Institutes of Health award # 1 UG1 HD107697-01.
“All of Us” and “Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us Research Program” are service marks of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
Illinois Institute of Technology
Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the collective power of difference to advance technology and progress for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the living lab of the city, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit iit.edu.
NIH Common Fund
The NIH Common Fund encourages collaboration and supports a series of exceptionally high-impact, trans-NIH programs. Common Fund programs are managed by the Office of Strategic Coordination in the Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives within the NIH Office of the Director in partnership with the NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices. More information is available at the Common Fund website: https://commonfund.nih.gov.
All of Us Research Program
The mission of the All of Us Research Program is to accelerate health research and medical breakthroughs, enabling individualized prevention, treatment, and care for all of us. The program will partner with one million or more people across the United States to build the most diverse biomedical data resource of its kind, to help researchers gain better insights into the biological, environmental, and behavioral factors that influence health. For more information, visit www.ResearchAllofUs.org
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Illinois Institute of Technology