Sciences: Diet and Nutrition

Department: Kinesiology

Supervising Faculty Member: Sibylle Kranz, RDN

Specialization: Diet and Nutrition

Research Focus: The Diet and Nutrition Laboratory (DAN) is a research facility designed to investigate diet intake behavior and meeting therapeutic or experimental diets in clinical intervention studies; led by Dr. Kranz, a research dietitian.  DAN is unique in that we are can accommodate studies in young children as well as in adults.  The lab entails a diet assessment unit, a metabolic kitchen (restricted access only), and a feeding/intervention area.  Located in Fontaine Research Park, access is easy and parking is available for subjects just steps away from the lab. 

DAN is the only research unit of this kind at UVA.  It was designed to conduct cutting-edge research on how diet and nutrition affect health, especially obesity and related diseases.  A critical part of this endeavor is to accurately assess dietary intake as well as the factors that lead to human eating behavior.   Specialized software and data collection techniques are used to minimize error and reporting bias – two critical components of correctly classifying eating patterns.  The metabolic kitchen is used to design and prepare highly specialized diets for small groups of subjects using high-precision food scales and cooking equipment.

NOTE: working in DAN is not a qualification to sit for the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Exam!

Position Description:

  1. Interact with students and staff in the lab and with our collaborators in a professional and collegial respective manner
  2. Engage with resource scouting and recipe development to meet specific diet needs or nutrient profiles
  3. Engage with research subjects and help organize subject participation in research
  4. Collect data on dietary intake, eating behavior, biomarkers, and body composition
  5. Organize and analyze data and help prepare visual aids (graphs, tables) to represent data
  6. Conduct literature reviews on topics relevant to the project, i.e. child nutrition: vegetables children are likely to eat

Required skills:

  1. Be a good communicator, with adults and children
  2. Works well independently while begin a part of the team
  3. Know basic nutrition
  4. Good time management
  5. For those working in the kitchen: must have completed the ServSafe Food safety course

Computer software: Comfortable working in word, excel, and PowerPoint

Training/certification: CITI training required for Human Subject IRB approved studies, Biological Safety training.

What you will learn:

  1. Understand motivation and barriers for human eating behavior
  2. Learn techniques to assess dietary intake patterns
  3. Apply dietary intake standards to assess diet quality of actual diets.
  4. Communicate science verbally and in writing (writing and presentation skills).