Research Programs, Grants, and Publications

Overview of Research Centers and Thematic Programs

The IFNH subscribes to a paradigm of translational research that enables basic research to be validated in the clinic and reduced to practice in the community. In keeping with its focus on prevention, the IFNH pays particular attention to early life-cycle interventions as a strategy to keep children on a healthy trajectory into adulthood. The IFNH research centers and special services represent the operational core of the institute; they are enriched by multiple thematic programs as outlined below. For detail see relevant IFNH webpages.

Thematic Program Chart.

IFNH Research Centers

Centers represent the scientific core of the institute. With the exception of the Center for Lipid Research, a long-standing Rutgers center of excellence, all of the IFNH centers are new and novel. Center directors are appointed by the Institute Director when there is sufficient interest and self-assembly of faculty and staff to warrant the formation of a center. Presently, the IFNH has four centers:

IFNH Thematic Programs

Thematic programs represent cross-cutting scientific themes that create synergy among the various centers. Thematic programs, like centers, are eligible for financial support from the Endowed Research Fund to enable their development. Presently, the IFNH has six thematic programs.

  • Culinary Health & Wellness explores the intersection of food preparation, nutrition and healthy lifestyles. This program runs in partnership with the Dining Services and Menus of Change University Research Collaborative: Program Leader: Dr. Peggy Policastro
  • Food Systems & Agriculture explores the food chain with a lens towards agricultural systems and their impact on broader society. Program Leader: Dr. Xenia Morin
  • IFNH Student Ambassadors offers students a special opportunity to participate in the many activities of the institute and supports peer-to-peer nutritional education across the university and into the community. Program Lead: Dr. Peggy Policastro
  • New Jersey Healthy Kids Initiative is a partnership between IFNH and the New Jersey Child Health Institute that seeks to redefine child health in terms of modern medicine and science: Program Leaders: Dr. Peter Gillies and Dr. Arnold Rabson
  • One Nutrition is an interdisciplinary program that explores the universality of the food and nutrition experience, whether too much or too little, across academic disciplines through the lens of systems dynamics. Program Leader: Dr. Joshua Miller
  • Microbiome in Human Nutrition & Health explores the role of the human microbiome in health and disease and ways that it can be managed through dietary interventions. Program Leader: Dr. Liping Zhao

IFNH Development Strategy

The strategy of the IFNH is to build and manage a portfolio of centers and thematic programs that are interdependent in order to foster emergent outcomes that realize the value of interdisciplinarity, i.e., the contribution of the collective exceeds the sum of the parts. The strategy recognizes the need to integrate two translational axis, one being disciplinarity → interdisciplinarity, the other being academic → community. Herein community is used in the broadest sense to include both the Rutgers community and the broader New Jersey community.

Chart showing thematic programs relative to how interdisciplinary they are and how much scientific and community outreach they inclue.


Internal and external partnerships are critical to the IFNH�s need to balance interdisciplinary breadth with disciplinary depth. The IFNH is pleased to partner with the following organization.

Child Health Institute of New Jersey logo MCURC logo ProDigest logo Quest Diagnostics logo
New jersey Department of Health logo Metabolon logo

Grants and Publications

Grant and Contract Funding Graph

Grants and publications are the currency of science and an important performance metric of the institute. Going into 2018, the Grants & Contracts portfolio of the IFNH exceeds $21 million and in 2017 our members added over 100 peer-reviewed publications to the scientific literature. Members can submit new grants through the IFNH providing they are consistent with the research mission of the institute and aligned with one or more of the research centers or thematic programs. Administrative priority is given to work done by, or in collaboration with, residents of the IFNH. For more information about submitting grants through the IFNH, members should contact the IFNH Director. For faculty within SEBS, the academic home of the IFNH, F&A is managed pursuant to policies and procedures set by the Dean’s Office. For faculty outside of SEBS, F&A is managed on a case by case basis between the financial directors of the two decanal units. Questions about post-award administration of grants should be directed to the IFNH Director of Administration & Finance. When citing academic affiliation in publications, talks or abstracts arising from work done through or in the institute, appropriate attribution to the Center and Institute is expected of all members, e.g., “From the Department of Food Science and the Center for Lipid Research, New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health”.