'Feeding Your Genome' Conference Scheduled at UA

The UA Department of Nutritional Sciences is hosting a conference offering the latest research and practical approaches in the emerging field of precision nutrition and health.
Feb. 20, 2017
Extra Info: 

Conference registration information is available online. The conference includes two days of science information at the UA, and an opening-night reception honoring Tucson's designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy featuring Ski Chilton, author of "The Gene Smart Diet."

For registration inquiries, contact Theresa Spicer at 520-621-7126 or tspicer@email.arizona.edu.

What: 
"Feeding Your Genome: Precision Nutrition and Health"
When: 
Feb. 22-24

Our genes can predispose us to certain diseases, while epigenetic (non-genetic) factors in our environment can influence gene expression in health and disease — and, according to research, even change how our DNA works. The relatively new field of precision nutrition considers all of these factors in determining a personalized plan of treatment. 

"One size doesn't fit all," said Donato Romagnolo, a professor in the University of Arizona Department of Nutritional Sciences and the Arizona Cancer Center.

"Across a population you have different genetic and epigenetic backgrounds, so the approach needs to be individual. This is where the future of preventive care is, and nutrition can play a part in it," Romagnolo said. "The therapy is tailored to individual needs because we are not all the same genetically or epigenetically." 

To that end, the Department of Nutritional Sciences, part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will host the "Feeding Your Genome: Precision Nutrition and Health" conference Feb. 22-24 at the UA. The conference agenda, with event locations, is available online.

Funded in part by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, the conference is appropriate for health professionals, educators, students, scientists and the interested public. Continuing-education units are offered for dietitians and consumer and family scientists and professionals. 

"Precision nutrition is a personalized approach or 'prescription' to prevent or treat chronic disease — one that considers individual differences in genes, environments and lifestyles," said Melanie Hingle, UA assistant professor in nutritional sciences. The conference will present and explore the science underlying personalized health recommendations, and foster discussion about how to incorporate these measures into current practice.

Ski Chilton, author of "The Gene Smart Diet" and professor of physiology and pharmacology in the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, will kick off the opening-night reception, a "Food, Wine and Healthy Living Event," on Feb. 22.

Open to the public, the reception will be held 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the UA's Environment and Natural Resources 2 building, 1064 E. Lowell St. The event features local food, refreshments and entertainment honoring Tucson's designation as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Tickets may be purchased separately online

The evening reception will be followed by a two-day scientific conference in the ballroom of the UA Student Union Memorial Center, 1303 E. University Blvd., where scientists and clinicians from the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the UA College of Medicine, 10 other universities and the National Institutes of Health will share their expertise related to precision nutrition and health.

The program is organized around six main themes: 

  • "Can I Overfeed My Genome?" 
  • "Of Genes, Foods and Lifestyle"
  • "Lipids, Inflammation and Cardiovascular Disease"
  • "Gut Microbiome and Obesity"
  • "Empower Yourself to Capture the Real World Through Mobile and Wireless Technologies"
  • "Medicating Your Genome? Progress and Prospects"

The scientific program will lead off on Feb. 23 with welcoming remarks by Hingle, the conference chair; Shane Burgess, dean of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Scott Going, head of the UA Department of Nutritional Sciences. 

Leaders in the fields of nutrition and biomedical science from Arizona universities who will be presenting include: Kenneth Ramos of the UA Health Sciences; Beth Jacobs of the UA Cancer Center; Martina Cartwright of the UA Department of Nutritional Sciences; Matthew Buman of Arizona State University; and Greg Caporaso of Northern Arizona University. 

A poster competition for undergraduates and graduate students and a postdoctoral reception will be held Feb. 23 and will feature research, clinical application and extension/outreach projects that address precision nutrition and health.