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Pennington Biomedical Awarded $6.7 Million from U.S. Department of Defense for Military Nutrition & Metabolism Research

Released: Monday, September 18, 2017

Baton Rouge, LA – Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center has been awarded $6.7 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to research nutrition, metabolism and human physiology in an effort to optimize the health of men and women in the U.S. military. The Collaborative Research to Optimize Warfighter Nutrition III (CROWN III) project is aimed at ensuring a healthy, fit military that is ready for deployment and resilient to the stressors of duty.

The CROWN III project is designed to develop innovative methods to assess, maintain and improve a Warfighter's physical, physiological and psychological capability to function effectively under environmental and operational stress that soldiers often experience in battle and to minimize the adverse effects of stress on health, safety and performance. Additionally, this work may allow for better prediction of the dietary requirements of military units conducting unique and specialized missions all over the globe.

This award builds on Pennington Biomedical's 29-year collaboration with the Department of Defense (DOD) and its role as the primary provider of nutritional information to the U.S. military. Pennington Biomedical has unparalleled expertise and facilities to conduct nutrition research that are not available within the DOD but complement and expand the specialized expertise within the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

"The CROWN III research award is recognition of the scientific excellence that exists at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, the significant contributions that our partnership has provided to Warfighters year after year, and the importance of the research that will be performed during execution of CROWN III. We are excited to continue working with the Pennington Biomedical scientific team," said Dr. Scott Montain, Chief of Military Nutrition Division at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.

The collaborative projects focus on three primary areas:

  • operational stress and nutritional requirements
  • nutrition, inflammation and resiliency
  • healthy eating and behavior

“Not only does this research help our military men and women live healthier lives, but what we learn from this collaboration also provides the opportunity to broadly impact the nutritional health of all Americans,” said Dr. Jennifer Rood, primary investigator on the CROWN III study and associate executive director for cores and resources at Pennington Biomedical. “These studies of energy balance, operational and environmental stress on our body's nutritional requirements, and the role of nutrition on inflammation and resilience have applications to the broader public and to workers who also endure environmental stress.”

“This work is of utmost importance to our country since it has the potential to provide the scientific data necessary to develop new and improved military health policies that promote healthy weight, military readiness and novel tools soldiers need to stay in top condition,” Pennington Biomedical Executive Director Dr. Donna Ryan said.

The CROWN III project continues work that has been underway at Pennington Biomedical for 29 years. During the CROWN I and CROWN II projects, Rood and her colleagues have conducted more than 125 projects and produced more than 100 jointly authored scientific publications. Pennington Biomedical personnel have provided high-quality analytical laboratory, nutrition database and metabolic unit support for DOD nutrition-related research programs. Additionally, Pennington Biomedical has conducted independent research that complements and extends military efforts in the areas of nutritional neuroscience, stress, physical and mental performance, and garrison feeding.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, 820 Chandler Street, Fort Detrick MD 21702-5014 is the awarding and administering acquisition office.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.