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The inaugural selection of the first round of Center for Nutrition, Learning, and Memory proposals provides funding for a balanced set of initial Center research projects. Thirteen research projects involving nutrition, the brain and cognition received funding, which ranged from $175K for more modest and/or preliminary projects to $2.5MM for more ambitious and integrative projects. These funded projects support work in three types of nutrition and cognition research: translational/clinical research, basic research and optimization of assessment and testing tools. All principal investigators have their primary appointments at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The project teams include a diverse group of more than 45 researchers representing 16 Illinois departments or units, from seven Illinois colleges, with collaborators from eight national and international research facilities.

Selected proposals for 2012 are:

  • Nutritional Intake, Cognitive Function and Measures of Brain Aging
  • Nutritional Enhancement of Cognition Through Stem Cells
  • Optimizing Assessment Tools for Determining Nutritional Enhancement of Learning and Memory
  • Cognitive and Brain Development in Premature Infants
  • Development of a Methodology for Investigating the Effects of Nutrition on the Maturation of Brain Networks Associated with Memory and Language in Infants
  • The Effects of a Bioactive Nutrient on Cognitive Functioning in an Animal Model of Normal Aging
  • Molecular Basis of Cognitive Impairment in “ChemoBrain” and Nutritional Intervention
  • The Effects of Fortified Nutritional Supplementation on Cognition, Memory, & Achievement
  • Development of a Small-for-Gestational-Age Piglet Model
  • Synergistic Effects of Exercise and Nutrition on Cognition & Brain Health of Older Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Probing the Effect of Brain Metabolism on Cognitive Function
  • Mouse Cognition Core Facility
  • Nutritional Regulation of Human Neuronal Development
  • Enhancing Learning and Memory in the Aged: Interactions Between Dietary Supplementation and Exercise

Funded research is balanced against key opportunity areas:

  • Targeted ages and populations:
    • Full-term and premature infants, pre-adolescent children, healthy adults, elderly, cancer patients, traumatic brain injury patients
  • Project categories:
    • Interventional, correlational, model and tool development, core facilities
  • Target nutrients:
    • Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), flavonoids, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), lutein
  • Human/animal studies