Nutritional Epidemiology Program

The overall mission of the Nutritional Epidemiology Program is 1) to identify environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors that influence the nutritional status and requirements of the elderly, and 2) to determine the role of nutritional status in healthy aging and the development of chronic disease and age-related impairments such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), dementia, type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), cataract and maculopathy. Our mission will be achieved through the application of epidemiological methods and community-based investigation of aging population samples.

Lab Objectives
1. Using an epidemiologic approach, investigate the role of whole grains, selected nutrients, other bioactive food components, and healthy dietary patterns in preventing the development of age-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, cancer, musculoskeletal disorders and age-related eye disease.

2. Determine the validity of biomarkers for whole grain intake, their use in assessing relationships between whole grains intake and disease risk, and the relationship between these biomarkers and insulin resistance phenotypes.

3. Using an epidemiologic approach, examine determinants of adherence to the recommended dietary patterns in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) and the relation between adherence to these patterns and prevention of age-related weight gain, abdominal obesity, and related metabolic disorders such as inflammation, endothelial dysfunction and insulin resistance.

4. Using an epidemiologic approach, investigate safe upper limits for the dietary intake of folic acid.

5. Using an epidemiologic approach, determine relationships between B-vitamin status, homocysteine levels, genetic mutations and the prevention of age related cognitive decline in humans.

6. Using an epidemiologic approach, investigate the role of nutritional factors in limiting the cormorbidities such as CVD and premature mortality in individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Paul F. Jacques, D.Sc., Lab Director
Nutritional Epidemiology Program
Senior Scientist and Professor
Research focus: flavonoids, B vitamins, whole grains, diet patterns and diet quality, and their relation to inflammation, insulin resistance, diabetes, cardiovascular disease cognitive impairment

Johanna T. Dwyer, D.Sc., R.D.
Senior Scientist and Professor
Research focus: food flavonoids; dietary risk factors for kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and obesity in aging

Nicola McKeown, Ph.D.
Scientist II
Research focus: Biomarkers of whole-grain intake; role of whole-grains in body weight management and risk of chronic disease; diet-gene interactions and diabetes risk

Martha Morris, Ph.D.
Scientist II
Research focus: Determinants and consequences of low B-vitamin status; benefits and risks associated with food folic acid fortification; nutritional strategies for preventing cognitive decline, age-related eye disease, and sarcopenia

Katherine L. Tucker, Ph.D.
Visiting Scientist

Gail Rogers, M.A., Senior Statistician
Kara Livingston, M.P.H., Project/Data Manager
Chris Zymaris, Budget and Administrative Assistant

For contact information, please click on the scientist’s webpage or visit the Tufts University online directory at