Plants in phenotyping chamber pots

Using Food to Improve Health

The multidisciplinary Nebraska Food for Health Center brings together strengths in agriculture and medicine from throughout the University of Nebraska system. We help develop hybrid crops and foods to improve the quality of life of those affected by critical diseases including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancers, inflammatory bowel disease and mental disorders.

Our research focuses on microbes living in the human gut microbiome.

Trillions of microbes – bacteria, viruses, fungi and more – live in the human gut microbiome, which normally acts in concert with the body to regulate organs, develop our immune systems, fight disease and metabolize foods. Abnormalities in the gut microbiome are being discovered as factors in many diseases.

Diet is one of the biggest factors that influences humans' gut microbiomes.

Because microbiomes are fed by the same foods that we consume, we can develop foods with health-promoting ingredients that work by selectively feeding beneficial microbes or prohibiting growth of more harmful species. This new interface between agriculture and medicine holds tremendous potential to transform how we think about preventing and treating disease.