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Applied Research at ERI: Human nutrition, health, and physiology

Updated: Feb 1, 2022

The level of biological information available to the general public today is unprecedented. Individuals can easily obtain insight into their “genomes” and can collect physiological and behavioral data with the use of fitness trackers. Many of these same companies also provide “personalized” fitness programs from only one data type, be that genomic or physiological. Although such advances have improved general health and fitness, most people lack the ability to make actionable use of genomic and behavioral data to improve their biological age.

The aims of the Applied Human Ecophysiology Core, an integrative fitness and research center, are two-fold: 1) integrate genomic, physiological, and behavioral data to provide experimental personalized health and fitness plans to reverse and manage aging and 2) facilitate a comprehensive understanding of human biology.

One of the main goals of the Applied Human Ecophysiology Core is to be the world leader in personalized health and wellness by making sense of the complexity of genetic, physiological, and environmental interactions in everyday life that impact our biological age. To do this, we need to integrate individuals’ unique genomic, molecular, and metabolic signatures to develop true personalized fitness plans. We recognize that everyone has a unique genetic signature, thus we all have a unique physiological response to diet and exercise that yield distinct signatures of aging. Research will be focused on the ability to continually improve individuals' overall health by quantifying signatures of aging through genomic and metabolic phenotyping that are then referenced against the overall population. Where an individual exists in this biological space will inform the personalized physical activity and diet plans to reverse/manage aging.

The experimental health and fitness plans will contribute to the world’s largest human biology database that will inform our specific experimental interventions such as physical activity and diet to reverse signatures of aging without the need for pharmaceuticals. With each passing day, we will continue to harvest the most comprehensive human biological database to date. In addition to the primary genomic and physiological data provided from individuals, we will identify genes and mutations associated with physiological states. To bridge the biological gap between genomes and physiology, we will use CRISPR-Cas9 in mammalian cell culture to identify how variants affect signaling networks and response to physiologically meaningful endocrine factors in vitro. In this way we will take static genomic data and convert it into biologically meaningful information from which mathematical models can be constructed to predict an individual’s physiology. This integrative database containing genomic, physiological, morphological and behavioral data will empower countless number of research endeavors for scientists across the globe.

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