• 54°

Plants for Human Health welcomes new faculty member

KANNAPOLIS – Dr. Colin Kay recently joined N.C. State University’s Plants for Human Health Institute at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis. An associate professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, Kay’s research interest lies in understanding the relationships between diet and chronic diseases, in particular, cardio-metabolic diseases and disorders such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance. To achieve this understanding, he looks at the metabolic transformation of phytochemicals, or plant compounds, and the impact this has on the biological activity of foods people eat, particularly berries.

Kay says that he was initially interested in the position at the institute because, “it offers the complete package.” He says, “There are tremendous resources and infrastructure available, and the research campus offers significant potential for collaboration with industry partners, including Dole, and other North Carolina universities.”

Dr. Mary Ann Lila, director of the institute, says Kay is “a rising star in the whole area of phytoactive compounds and what happens in the human body after they are consumed. He’s been able to shed some light on the transport, kinetics, and fate of biologically active anthocyanins and other flavonoids after an enriched functional food – for example, a fruit like a blueberry or a grape – is eaten by a human being. We look forward to a wealth of ‘fruitful’ collaborations.”

The institute’s mission is to enhance the health-protective value of food crops to increase the economic impact to North Carolina agriculture and improve global human health. Kay’s research explores what happens to plant compounds (phytochemicals) during the process of digestion and metabolism. Understanding the fundamentals of phytochemical metabolism and the impact this has on the biological activity of foods will ultimately allow individuals to make informed decisions regarding their diet and the associated implications of dietary change. Kay hopes to establish metabolic fingerprints as a means to identify personalized preventative strategies against chronic disease; and in the long term, hopes that his research will lead to the realization that foods and/or phytochemical metabolites can act as effective prevention and treatment strategies for disease risk reduction.

Kay earned his Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, in 2004. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Penn State University prior to taking a position at Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom in 2007. He comes to the institute from the University of East Anglia with 33 peer-reviewed publications, and more than $8 million in career research funding.

The Plants for Human Health Institute now includes seven lead research faculty, with three more slated to start this summer in the areas of regenerative medicine and translational nutrition. The institute employs 50 faculty and staff, including postdoctoral researchers, graduate students and Cooperative Extension associates. Kay will be hiring a research assistant and securing two PhD students in the next year.

 

Comments

Business

With remote expansion, outsource provider FCR looks to become an ‘exceptional part’ of Rowan community

Local

City expects $1.5 million surplus in current budget, ability to raise some wages for police, public works

Education

Enochville Elementary to host farewell event May 1

High School

High school softball: Carson beats West in a wild one

College

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson will speak at NC State graduation

High School

Wonders, Trojans facing off Monday on Cannon Ballers’ field

Local

City approves two apartment developments, more than 160 new units

Nation/World

Crowds react with joy, wariness to verdict in Floyd’s death

News

Bill seeks to end pistol purchase permits from NC sheriffs

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees 300th death attributed to COVID-19

News

Chauvin convicted on all counts in George Floyd’s death

Local

Top North Carolina House finance chair, Rowan representative stripped of position

Crime

One charged, another hospitalized in fight between cousins

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday