Ph.D. Degree

Program Overview

    Nutrition scientists apply the tools of physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics, aSKF-KarelErion-Small-web-size-179x300s well as epidemiology and social sciences, to questions that are important for understanding the impact of nutrition on human health. They focus on understanding how nutrient metabolism is integrated at molecular, biochemical and physiologic (systems) levels.

    The doctoral program in Nutrition and Metabolism will provide you with core knowledge of the biomedical sciences through the FiBS curriculum and then apply this knowledge to the study of nutrition and metabolism in health and disease. Unlike a degree in biochemistry, students also acquire knowledge of translational research at clinical and population-based levels. 


Program Highlights


Beyond our Core Requirements

    You can tailor your coursework and research experience to pursue your interests. We encourage you to take full advantage of the myriad course offerings at BU that will provide you with the expertise needed to address nutrition-related research questions.

    Doctoral students are required to rotate through 2-3 different laboratories/research groups before choosing a mentor for their thesis work. Directed study opportunities to pursue research or specialized topics under the guidance of a faculty member are also available.

    Although our program is young, graduates of similar doctoral nutrition sciences programs have gone on to such jobs as research scientists, clinical associates in the pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology, academic positions at colleges/universities/medical schools, directors of obesity prevention programs, medical writers and the like.

    Our interdisciplinary program is mainly based in the Department of Medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, but we have faculty from many other departments of the School of Medicine and Boston University.

Research Interests

    Our faculty’s research interests include the role of nutrition and nutrient metabolism in the pathogenesis, prevention and treatment of chronic diseases from basic, clinical and epidemiological perspectives.

    Examples of specific areas of research include the following:

    Nutrient signaling in obesity & diabetes

    • Adipocyte biology including adipogenesis and metabolic regulation (Corkey, Farmer, Fried, Kandror, Pilch, Puri)
    • Islet biology/insulin secretion (Corkey, Shirihai)
    • Bioenergentics (Shirihai, Corkey)
    • Muscle metabolism, diabetes & exercise (Ruderman)
    • Nutrient transport (Hamilton, Kandror, Pilch)

    Clinical/Translational Research

    • Obesity, diet and weight loss (Apovian, Fried, Istfan)
    • Interventions to prevent sarcopenia of aging (e.g. dietary protein,exercise) (Apovian, Moore)
    • Dietary factors and childhood obesity (Bandini, Lenders, Moore)
    • Vitamin D and health (Holick)
    • Bariatric surgery outcomes (Istfan, Apovian, Moore)
    • Diabetes, obesity and inflammation (Ruderman, McDonnell, Apovian)
    • Dairy, calcium and risk of obesity and its co-morbidities (Moore)
    • Obesity, menopause and cardiovascular risk (Moore, Coviello)
    • Obesity and cancer risk (Denis, Moore, Fried)
    • Diet and blood pressure (Moore)

Requirements for the PhD in Nutrition