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Center for Human Nutrition, Exercise, and Metabolism (NEXT)

Photo: Display of healthy food.
students Dave and Anna
Photo: Work out equipment in the center
Photo: The word Metabolism printed on a sphere
Photo: The Bod Pod

NEXT Human Metabolism Center

The Center for human Nutrition, Exercise, and Metabolism (NEXT) brings researchers together who are interested in optimizing health via lifestyle interventions that include proper nutrition and exercise. The main aims of the center are to improve metabolism and body composition, bone strength, cardiovascular and muscular fitness, maximize growth, and mitigate the decline in function associated with aging. To facilitate our goals, research asks questions related to nutrition and exercise with a common focus on physiology and metabolism. The NEXT Center is a center of the New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health.

What’s Happening at the Center?

Presentation by Dr. Donald Layman

The Metabolic Journey of Leucine to Muscle Health (YouTube video) (NEXT Center, IFNH AY 2021–2022 Inaugural symposium).

The critical role of how metabolism interacts with nutrition and physical activity in the prevention and treatment of conditions such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular, hypertension, obesity, cancer, osteoporosis, and other chronic diseases is the basis for this center. The center emphasizes team research between inter-disciplinary faculty in different departments and schools.

Photo: Weight related health risks figure.

The inherent interdisciplinary nature of nutrition, metabolism, and exercise facilitates its collaboration with other core areas and centers of the IFNH and other outstanding Departments and Schools at Rutgers. Our goal is to bolster the translational efforts to improve human health at the Institute. The Center represents an ideal environment to facilitate cutting-edge research and educational models that will put Rutgers at the forefront of disease prevention using healthy lifestyle solutions.

Photo: NEXT Center gym equipment.

The Center for Human Nutrition, Exercise and Metabolism with state-of-the-art testing, performance and clinical facilities will provide the ability to train and test various populations' body composition, metabolism, diet, and fitness. This includes pediatric, adolescent, college, elderly, sedentary, and obese individuals, in order to improve their health. The facility is also designed for elite athletes, military personnel, police, and firefighters. An emphasis will be placed on an integration of nutrition, health, and fitness in order to influence public policy and mitigate disease states. The Center represents the next generation of human nutrition and exercise health promotion in a university setting, using state of the art methods to conduct the highest quality research and promote the highest standard of care.

IFNH Members who have a research project or class that requires clinical space or use of the Fitness Facility, please write an application. All Research and Teaching applications are reviewed by the IFNH Steering committee.

Photo: NExT Center members. Zoom in
Photo: Sue Shapses.

Sue Shapses, PhD, RDN,
Center Director

Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences; Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Medicine, Rutgers - RWJMS
shapses at

Director's related efforts:
A primary focus is to understand how micronutrients, exercise and dieting affect metabolism, inflammation and gut-brain health to optimize body composition and health. Dr. Shapses is an Associate Editor, Am J Clin Nutr and section Editor for the annual journal "Nutrition, Exercise and Lifestyle" in Current Osteoporosis Reports.