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Institute of Human Nutrition


The Institute of Human Nutrition conducts, coordinates, and leads nutrition research and education activities throughout Columbia University and its affiliated institutions worldwide.

Research is a fundamental component of all IHN educational programs. The Institute’s location in the Columbia University Medical Center gives students access to a rich and varied array of research opportunities. Research is conducted in the basic science and clinical departments of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as in a number of specialized centers of particular interest to students of nutrition. The Medical Center is also the home of the Mailman School of Public Health, and the Schools of Dentistry and Nursing. All provide opportunities for IHN students to participate in research.

Doctoral students conduct their thesis research under the direction of members of the Nutritional and Metabolic Biology Program, researchers drawn from throughout the Medical Center and representing disciplines such as pediatrics, microbiology, cellular and molecular biology, toxicology, surgery, epidemiology, and others, as they relate to nutrition. Other doctoral training programs at the Medical Center include those in Pathology and Cell Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Bioinformatics, Genetics and Development, Microbiology and Immunology, neurobiology, Pharmacology, and Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, as well as programs associated with interdisciplinary doctoral program subcommittees in Biostatistics, in Cellular, Molecular and Biophysical Studies, and in Public Health. The extensive research and training collaborations among these groups offer outstanding opportunities for cooperative and interdisciplinary training of the next generation of nutrition researchers.

IHN masters students work in research projects for most of the year of the masters program, submitting a Masters Thesis manuscript as part of the requirements for the MS degree. Masters students work with researchers from all parts of the Medical Center, contributing to research in basic laboratory science, public health, and clinical nutrition projects. Students wanting research or volunteer activities in community settings also have numerous opportunities to work in communities near the Medical Center.

"As we enter the 21st century, nutrition is increasingly being recognized as a major modulator of human development, function and disease prevention. Major gaps exist in our understanding of the mechanisms whereby nutritional regulatory processes occur. The program outlined herein describes plans to help fill these gaps through research in molecular nutrition, biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, nutritional epidemiology and public health. These plans take advantage of the fact that the Columbia Health Sciences campus is an extraordinary resource for students of nutrition. A tremendous amount of research in all fields of biomedicine and public health takes place on this campus. The Institute, as part of this enterprise, interacts with investigators in many fields and is able to give students access to the complete range of laboratories conducting research relevant to nutrition. At the same time, research by Institute faculty brings the field of nutrition ever closer to biomedical science as well as all medical and many public health fields, all represented at Columbia.

We invite you to spend a few moments with us as we highlight the multiple training and research opportunities available in one of the most exciting places to study, the Institute of Human Nutrition at Columbia University."

Richard J. Deckelbaum, M.D., C.M., Director


  • Robert R. Williams Professor of Nutrition (in Pediatrics), Professor of Epidemiology, Director, Institute of Human Nutrition