Metabolic Research Unit

Model excellence in the delivery of core unit services supporting nutrition and aging research

The primary role of the Metabolic Research Unit is to provide innovative and exceptional core unit support to investigators carrying out HNRCA strategic research priorities focused on nutrition and aging as they relate to human health and disease. The MRU is a uniquely structured core unit within the HNRCA consisting of three distinct but interdependent departments and services (volunteer recruitment, dietary and nursing) that are designed to facilitate and support the clinical aspects of data collection with human subjects for HNRCA research laboratories.

Unit Description
The unit occupies 25,000-square feet, and consists of three distinct, but interdependent departments and services in carrying out its mission. The facility includes individual living quarters for resident volunteers; multipurpose areas to carry out clinical research procedures; a metabolic kitchen; a dining room; examination rooms; and a medical records library. MRU operations are supported by a staff of approximately 30 personnel. The volunteer recruitment services department implements various strategies, including maintaining a robust database of healthy adult volunteers, from which to recruit for various nutrition studies. Research dietitians develop diet menus while dietary support staff prepare meals designed to meet the specific aims of investigator research protocols; providing diets requiring precise nutrient control, preparation and serving procedures. Research nurses and nursing support staff implement clinical research protocols while they ensure participant safety by continuous assessment and monitoring of the physiological status of free-living and resident volunteers.

The MRU works collaboratively with investigators by providing the following services:

  • Preparing budgetary costs associated with MRU services
  • Designing and implementing various strategies for recruitment of study volunteers
  • Assessing the health status and appropriateness of participation of study volunteers
  • Monitoring the safety and well-being of enrolled study participants
  • Ensuring IRB compliance with regulations involving the protection of human research participants
  • Carrying out clinical procedures associated with research protocols
  • Designing study-specific diets and ensuring volunteer compliance with diets

Core Values

Integrity We adhere to a consistent framework of ethical principles in our work that includes honesty, trustworthiness and transparency. We accomplish this by subscribing to a code of personal and professional conduct that is above reproach and to which we hold ourselves and each other accountable.

People First We recognize that people are our priority and that our standard of practice must be anchored in the Golden Rule. We therefore act with a sense of fairness and on the principle of reciprocity by treating people with dignity, courtesy and respect. Our focus is to remain cognizant of what impact our actions have on the lives of others.

Commitment to Excellence We believe that every job we do is a self-portrait and that our work should be autographed with quality. We are professionals and take pride in our workmanship. In this regard, we strive to engage in activities that contribute to our growth and development as professionals which allow us to consistently deliver exceptional services to our many and varied clients.

Leadership We believe in developing the leadership potential of each member of our staff by facilitating his or her engagement in service to the organization and to our community. It is imperative that we set the example for demonstrating a commitment to developing the leadership potential of each member of our staff by recognizing the value that each member contributes to the team.

Collaboration We must seek to recognize, build and strengthen partnerships through the work that we do. Investment in the concepts of collaboration and teamwork provides us with a more efficient utilization of resources and increases our capacity to support research priorities.

Innovation We embrace a strategy that merges value and innovation whereby our entire range of activities are oriented toward achieving an increase in value for both our customers and ourselves. We accomplish this by aligning innovation with utility, price and cost positions to create greater opportunities for engagement in scientific research.