The Massachusetts General Hospital Translational and Clinical Research Center (TCRC) Metabolism & Nutrition Research (MNR) unit is a resource within the Harvard Catalyst, Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC). MNR prepares and provides standard and specialized research meals, collects and analyzes nutrition intake data, and performs metabolic assessments using a variety of modalities. The ability of our MNR team to provide services for inpatient, outpatient and off-site visits offers investigators a specialized infrastructure for research studies.

The TCRC Metabolism & Nutrition Research staff includes registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians (DT). The highly trained RDs have extensive research experience and work in collaboration with investigators in writing grant applications including research design and budget planning, as well as developing comprehensive plans for study review and implementation procedures. Dietetic technicians assist the RDs in daily nutrition research operations.

As an integral study team member, the RD educates clinical research staff and participants regarding the metabolism and nutrition component of the study protocol, and interpretation of nutrition data. Data review and manuscript preparation are additional services available upon study completion.

Functions of the MNR staff include the following

  • Collaborate/consult with Investigators on study design
  • Assistance with grant preparation
  • Evaluate best practices for gathering study-specific nutrition data
  • Development of novel nutrition methodology
  • Development of nutrient-specific screening and assessment materials/tools
  • Evaluation of methodology (ies) for assessing population-specific changes in metabolic markers
  • Evaluate protocols initially and on an on-going basis with team members including TCRC staff, investigators and study staff
  • Budget projections for nutrition services
  • Standardized anthropometric measurements
  • Bioelectrical impedance analysis (bia_pt.pdf) for hydration status and body composition
  • Energy expenditure and substrate utilization using indirect calorimetry
  • Duel energy x-ray absorptiometry (dxa_pt.pdf) for bone mineral density and body composition
  • Physical activity assessment
  • Interpretation of metabolic assessment results
  • Collection and analysis of nutrient intake data (Food Diary, 24-48hr Recall)
  • Single and multiple nutrient food frequency questionnaires (FFQ)
  • Interpretation of nutrient intake data
  • Single or multiple sessions with individual research participants
  • Telephone, email, tele-consultations
  • Development, testing, production and monitoring of controlled metabolic diets (single or multiple nutrient) 
  • Standard (or modified) meals and snacks as indicated by the specific research protocol

For questions and inquiries, please contact Jane Hubbard, Metabolism & Nutrition Research Director, at