The USDA facility is sited on 1/2 acre of Federal property adjacent to the Tufts University Medical campus in downtown Boston. The 200,000 sq ft, 14-story facility houses ARS employees and Tufts University employees, including at least 44 scientists divided into 22 research laboratories.
Biologist Derek Fisher (left) and physiologist Jim Joseph observe primary hippocampal neurons using fluorescent microscopy and real-time calcium imaging to determine the effects of blueberry polyphenol treatments in protecting against oxidative and inflammatory stress
The HNRCA is the largest research center in the world devoted to the study of the role of nutrition in the prevention of age-related chronic diseases. Center accomplishments over the past 30 years have greatly contributed to the knowledge of the importance that nutrition and exercise play in the prevention of chronic disease, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, bone disease, and conditions which affect the eye, brain, and kidneys. Research conducted at the HNRCA has contributed preventive nutrition solutions for chronic health problems such as osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer, and most frequently, obesity. Pioneering work by HNRCA scientists has also furthered our knowledge of nutrient bioavailabilty, nutrient requirements, and prevention of muscle loss through aging with nutrition and exercise among many other accomplishments.
Molecular biologist Chao Qiang Lai (left) and geneticist Jose Ordovas use a DNA sequence system to identify which individuals carry a specific mutation associated with high triglycerides or obesity.
Currently, HNRCA investigators are also providing key findings contributing to the understanding of obesity and the role of nutrients in gene expression as well as the role of genetic inheritance in defining nutrient requirements and the variability of dietary responses. This cutting edge research efforts in progress, including new initiatives in obesity prevention research, have the HNRCA poised to continue in the forefront of nutrition science research.