Sean H. Adams, Ph.D., Director

The Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) is one of only two national USDA human nutrition research centers focusing on maternal and child health.  The Center was established in 1994 as a partnership between the USDA-Agricultural Research Service and Arkansas Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute and UAMS.  ACNC scientists focus on complementary clinical and basic science studies, to examine how diet and physical activity impact health and development of physiological parameters (GI tract function and microbiome, liver, immune and endocrine systems, body composition and fat tissue, bone and muscle, neurodevelopment and behavior, among others).  A major focus is on “developmental programming,” in which early life events (pre- and post-conception maternal conditions, postpartum diet) influence epigenetic and molecular pathways that regulate child development and physiology.  Many of the Center’s studies involve large cohorts of mothers and offspring, in which longitudinal phenotyping is leveraged to determine the short- and long-term impact of diet, obesity and other factors on children’s health.

The ACNC’s expertise and infrastructure includes:

  1. Metabolomics and stable isotope kinetics to explore intermediary metabolism and metabolic health
  2. Brain imaging, neurophysiology, and behavioral phenotyping in infants and children
  3. DEXA, pQCT, NMR and other tools to measure body composition and bone
  4. Epigenetics, genomics and other molecular tools to characterize gene-level events in tissues including placenta
  5. Microbiome analyses, including metagenomics, and application of informatics to physiology
  6. Cell culture and tissue-level biochemistry and function

For more information, please visit our website.