Nutrition Core for Clinical Research Dishes Up Discovery

It’s no secret that the Brigham is a research powerhouse. But what some faculty and staff might be less familiar with is the hospital’s robust, in-house support structure for clinical research — an offering designed to aid Brigham investigators during each stage of their work.

As part of its many support services — including Investigational Drug Services, Clinical Skills Training and Phlebotomy — the Center of Clinical Investigation (CCI) is home to the Brigham’s Nutrition and Metabolic Research Core, which aims to advance nutrition research as an integral component of its overall research studies.

“The Nutrition Core was, is and will remain critical for the success of intensive and long-term, in-laboratory metabolic, sleep and circadian studies like ours,” said Frank Scheer, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Sleep Medicine Division, who has worked with the team for more than 15 years on trials such as one examining the association between shift work and metabolic disorders. “These studies require the know-how, experience and dedication of a nutrition team to provide calculated meals before and during these in-laboratory protocols that last days, weeks and sometimes months, as well as support for energy expenditure assessments, meal-pattern tracking and nutritional analysis.”

Using a variety of modalities, the Nutrition Core collaborates with investigators like Scheer to provide research diets, nutrition intake data collection and analysis, and patient nutrition assessment services, working closely with the CCI inpatient, outpatient and extended offsite facilities. It also translates nutrition research findings for health professionals and public health policy and application, and makes equipment previously reserved only for research — such as indirect calorimeters that assess resting metabolic rate — available to outpatients through the CCI Nutrition Clinic.

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