Nutrition and Genomics

The Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory is a pioneer in the study of gene-diet interactions in the area of cardiovascular diseases, utilizing both genetic epidemiology approaches as well as controlled dietary intervention studies.

Lab Objectives
1. Identify new human genes involved in the homeostasis of lipid metabolism using genome-wide association studies and bioinformatics.

2. Identify candidate genes for overweight and obesity in humans with special emphasis on those modulating the risk for the metabolic syndrome.

3. Identify genetic factors determining differential susceptibility towards chronic disorders in response to a Western-type diet and lifestyle in humans with differing ethnic backgrounds.

4. Identify new longevity genes and describe their modulation by nutritional and environmental factors in animals and humans.

Lab Members
Jose M. Ordovas, Ph.D., Laboratory Director
Senior Scientist and Professor, Nutrition and Molecular Genetics
Research focus: molecular biology, nutrition, and genetics; lipoproteins and cardiovascular disease risk

Kris Richardson, Ph.D.
Scientist III
Research Focus: Bioinformatics, gene by diet interaction analysis in obesity, SNP analysis and functional annotation, microRNAs, molecular biology

Caren E. Smith, M.S., D.V.M
Scientist II
Research focus: nutrient-gene interactions in cardiovascular disease, exercise-gene interactions in cardiovascular disease.

Martin S. Obin, Ph.D.
Adjunct Scientist
Research focus: Nutrient effects on obesity-associated complications and aging

Chao-Qiang Lai, Ph.D.
Research Molecular Biologist, USDA, ARS
Research focus: molecular biology, population genetics, nutrition and genetics; genetics and molecular mechanisms of aging; and lipoproteins and cardiovascular disease risk

Laurence D. Parnell, Ph.D.
Computational Biologist, USDA, ARS
Research focus: bioinformatics and genomics of nutrition; single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis, comparative genomics, candidate gene discovery, transcription microarrays, nutrition systems biology
Yu-Chi Lee, M.S., PhD Student
Luke Baccari, Budget and Administrative Assistant

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

For more about ARS Scientists or USDA, Agricultural Research Service Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging: