Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Receives Five-Year, $4.5 Million Grant

To study nutrition in infants and adults.

Through a new, $4.5 million grant from Feihe International, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) is creating a new entity called the Feihe Nutrition Laboratory.

Feihe International, the leading producer and distributor of infant formula, milk powder, soybean, and walnut powder in China, provided the grant to promote research studying the links between diet, nutrition, and cognition.

“This collaboration between Feihe and BIDMC, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, will provide funds to carry out research studies on the connection between diet, nutrition and cognition across the lifespan,” said Youbin Leng, Chairman of Feihe International, Inc.

Researchers from Feihe International will also visit Boston to participate in the work.

The research will be led by George L. Blackburn, MD, PhD, whose recent work has focused on “inter-individual differences and the development of new brain- and cognition-based therapies to enhance eating control in pathological conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.” He is also a Principal Investigator on the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Look AHEAD trial which is examining the “effects of a lifestyle intervention designed to achieve and maintain weight loss over the long term through decreased caloric intake and exercise.”

According to BIDMC reps, the work in the new lab will focus on:

…the nutritional demands of infant brain development in different stages; infant gastrointestinal health and nutrient absorption; health risk and nutritional intervention of obese infants and/or diabetic mothers; and the nutritional demands of adults in different age groups.

Multidisciplinary collaborations and the dissemination of best practices in both surgical, nonsurgical, and neurocognitive interventions for the treatment of obesity and obesity-related diseases are ongoing priorities.

“This collaboration with Feihe International will allow us to revisit our research into foods for special dietary purpose. As a result of decades-long investigation into formula diet that we can now reengineer using new science of gut microbiota, probiotics and their impact through the lifespan,” Blackburn says.