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Clinical & Translational Research Center (CTRC)

CTRC Nutrition Services

UCLA CTSI's Nutrition Core supports investigators with a broad range of services over the four participating partner institutions. 

The following nutrition resources are available to investigators:




DXA (Body Composition assessment by Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry)
BIA (Bioelectrical impedance analysis)
Inpatient Unit

Exercise Testing
Nutrient Intake Collection and Analysis
Nutrition Counseling and Education
Metabolic Kitchen/Research Diets

Protocol Development
Offsite Services

Learn more about the services provided at each CTSI CTRC: UCLA, Lundquist/Harbor-UCLA, CDU and Cedars-Sinai.

About CTRC Nutrition Services

Nutrition is an integrative field that does not belong to any specific discipline or specialty, but rather it interfaces with many areas of medicine, biochemistry, and physiology. The Nutrition core is an important component of the CTSI as it covers the spectrum from molecular science (the role of nutrition in regulation of gene expression) to public policy (Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Healthy People 2010 Objectives). The Nutrition core will provide specialized research resources and services to CTSI investigators beginning with the planning and development of research protocols through to the execution and achievement of research objectives.

Inpatient, outpatient, community facilities, and personnel create an experienced and specialized core that provides expert nutrition services. Skilled research dietitians work with investigators to plan and implement protocols, and collect, interpret and publish data for studies that require metabolic and nutritional considerations. As the expert in nutritional science, the dietitian ensures that investigators incorporate innovative therapies and state-of-the-art methodologies into research projects. They are also uniquely trained to plan nutrition programs and promote public health in the community.

Protocol Development

  • Consult and assist with protocol development, including grant preparation
  • Conduct reviews of the current literature regarding nutrition and disease, drug-nutrient interactions, nutrition research methodologies
  • Evaluate best practices for gathering study-specific nutrition data
  • Develop study-specific screening and assessment tools and materials
  • Budget projections for nutrition services

Metabolic Assessment

  • Anthropometrics (height, weight, skin fold, and circumferences): RDs perform or help train study staff to perform procedures for collecting various anthropometric measurements using techniques and methods described in NHANES III
  • Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) for hydration status and body composition
  • Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) for bone mineral density and body composition

Nutrient Intake Collection and Analysis

  • Select the appropriate tools (e.g., food intake records, 24 hour recall, food frequency questionnaires) to collect and assess nutrient intake data.
  • Nutritional Status Assessment — includes Anthropometry and Body Composition Assessment used to screen and/or monitor study participants

Nutrition Counseling and Education

  • Conduct nutrition counseling with individual subjects or groups
  • Provide telephone consultations
  • Provide educational classes for study participants, research staff, fellow, dietetic students

Metabolic Kitchen Services

  • House Meals/Snacks
    • Energy, nutrients, or specific foods are not controlled
    • Subjects receive a standard meal/snack
  • Controlled Nutrient Meals
    • Meal plans are calculated to meet specific nutrient levels defined by the research protocol
    • Specific meal plans can be developed for meal challenges or test meals

Offsite Services

Nutrition services are available for community-based studies. Study requirements and logistics should be discussed with the Nutrition Core director at the specific UCLA-CTSI site(s).