Associate Area Director
USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research
1100 Bates Street
Houston TX 77030
The mission of the Children's Nutrition Research Center is to define the dietary needs that will assure health in pregnant and lactating women and in children from conception through adolescence. Objectives are to 1) determine the role of nutrition and specific nutrients in optimal prenatal development, including which nutrients consumed by a mother near the time of conception, and during pregnancy and lactation, positively affect infant health and the course of human development; 2) investigate nutrient-gene interactions to determine both how gene expression is regulated by dietary nutrients and how differences in genotype affect the absorption and utilization of common nutrients by individuals; 3) identify the specific nutritional factors necessary for optimal health, growth, and development of newborn term and pre-term infants and children of all ages; 4) identify regulatory controls of body weight and body composition during infancy and childhood, and metabolic and behavioral factors that regulate energy intake, energy expenditure, appetite, and satiety; 5) identify childhood dietary habits that contribute to long-term health and the prevention of diet-related chronic diseases in adulthood, including osteoporosis, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer; 6) investigate the biochemical regulation of phytonutrients in plant foods, the importance of specific phytonutrients in optimal childhood growth and development, and the bioavailability of minerals, such as iron, zinc and calcium, from plant sources; 7) investigate the developmental origins of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases of nutritional lineage; and 8) identify the nutritional regulation of cell and organ growth, differentiation, and development.