Nutrigenomics chair will lead “functional foods” research

By Peter Kent

The South Carolina Research Centers of Economic Excellence Review Board has approved Clemson’s proposal for an endowed chair in nutrigenomics.

The nutrigenomics chair will lead research efforts on how the micronutrients in plant-based foods activate certain genes that can cause – or prevent – obesity in humans. Obesity is a major health problem in South Carolina, contributing to diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

“We will focus on identifying and understanding the power of functional foods – foods or supplements that may provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition,” said Susan Barefoot, chief operating officer of the Clemson Experiment Station and nutrigenomics initiative leader. “And we will be looking for businesses to join us in seeking to understand the science and in finding opportunities to reach the public.”

The endowed chairs program was created by the S.C. legislature to attract top academic scientists to the three research universities and to increase development of high technology companies in the state.

For information: Susan Barefoot, 864-656-3140,