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Center for Human Nutrition

Center Laboratories

The Center’s core laboratories include:

  1. a micronutrient laboratory equipped with HPLC systems for analysis of vitamins: This laboratory sustains several large clinical trials happening concurrently. Radiolabeled methods have been generally replaced by ELISA techniques, and new HPLC methods were developed for biomarkers of oxidative stress, homocysteine and others.

  2. a body composition/energy metabolism laboratory which offers atomic absorption spectroscopy for deuterium analysis, resources for tracer studies, and a computer resource for kinetic analysis;

  3. and a mass spectrometry laboratory, which houses instrumentation for high-sensitivity mineral isotope analysis. This instrument is one of only a handful available in the country for mineral stable isotope analysis in very small volumes, allowing studies in infants and children with minimal sampling. Besides our own research, the instrument provides analytical services through collaboration with other academic institutions in the country, and is one of the sites of NASA’s space flight research consortium.

Collaborating Lab Facilities

Laboratory resources in collaborating facilities at Johns Hopkins include isotope ratio mass spectrometry for 13C, 2H, 18O, and 15N analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) for molecular structure studies, and a high-resolution molecular modeling system.

The Center's collaborative agreement with the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Beltsville, Md., provides access to additional mass spectrometry, analytical chemistry, and human study resources, including DEXA and direct and indirect room calorimeters.  

Clinical Facilities

Johns Hopkins Hospital
The Center uses the clinical research center located at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. This center, funded by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources of the NIH, consists of three units: adult inpatient, pediatric inpatient, and ambulatory. The Center's metabolic unit provides resources for tracer infusion studies, gas exchange indirect calorimetry, insulin clamp studies, and body composition. The unit is supported by a full-time research staff of nurses and dietitians. The Center also has an outpatient clinic used for ambulatory studies.

USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Beltsville
The Human Nutrition Research Center at Beltsville has extensive resources for preparation and delivery of experimental diets, and is capable of serving over 80 subjects at a time. Facilities for volunteer screening and intake are also available.

Pro-Health Center
This 8,000 square foot, community-based unit in suburban Baltimore is operated by researchers from the clinical epidemiology group affiliated with the Center. There are resources for case intake, baseline screening, specimen collection and storage, and a dining facility for feeding experimental diets. Healthy volunteers are recruited from the community for large clinical trials.