April 16, 1997

Media Contacts: Sarah Goodwin, 404/727-3366 -
Kathi Ovnic, 404/727-9371 -

The Graduate Program in Nutrition and Health Sciences at Emory University ranks third in the nation among graduate nutrition programs, according to the 1996 edition of The Gourman Report (7th Edition, National Education Standards, Los Angeles). The program is part of the Nutrition and Health Sciences Center at Emory University.

"It is remarkable that this program has been ranked this highly after only five years in existence," says Program Director Alfred H. Merrill Jr., Ph.D. "This is probably due to the widespread recognition that modern nutrition research must encompass both basic and applied sciences. Our program uniquely meets this need by combining faculty from basic science and clinical departments in Emory University School of Medicine (strongly represented by the Departments of Biochemistry and Medicine); from epidemiology, international health and behavioral sciences in Emory's Rollins School of Public Health; from the Department of Anthropology at Emory College; and from several divisions of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Our students also benefit from interactions with the national headquarters of American Cancer Society, C.A.R.E. and International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI)."

The program was begun in 1992 to prepare nutritional scientists who will be able to discover new relationships between diet and disease, and how to apply this knowledge to improve health through dietary and behavioral change. Doctoral students are rigorously exposed to nutrition from a variety of perspectives so that they are not only knowledgeable in a specialized area, but also, understand how to communicate with persons in other fields.

Michael M. E. Johns, M.D., Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and Director of The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, Emory University, notes that this is "an example of how the health sciences center and the community can work together to achieve excellence."

The program currently has 15 students and has been awarded a highly competitive training grant from the National Institutes of Health.

"We are pleased with the success of the Graduate Program in Nutrition and Health Sciences," says Thomas J. Lawley, M.D., dean, Emory University School of Medicine. "It represents a fine interdisciplinary collaborative effort here at Emory."

Research projects of the graduate students include the following: how genetics, diet and exercise affect lipoprotein metabolism and heart disease; the molecular basis for gene damage and repair, particularly as they relate to the prevention of cancer; how diet, exercise and body composition contribute to differences in disease incidence among racial and ethnic groups; the impact of malnutrition in early life on mental development and health as well as how this affects the economies of developing countries; and development of novel strategies to reverse through physical activity and nutrition the trend toward overweight among children and adolescents.

"This program crosses departmental and school boundaries and the nonacademic Atlanta community as well," says David Lambeth, M.D., Ph.D., chairman of Biochemistry, Emory University School of Medicine. "In fact, the scope of what the program offers graduate students parallels the complex, interrelated and dynamic role nutrition plays in human health."

Cornell's nutrition program is first in the Gourman ranking and Columbia University's program placed second.

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center, call Health Sciences News and Information at 404-727-5686, or send e-mail to

Copyright ©Emory University, 1997. All Rights Reserved.
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