NORC - Centers


- Boston NORC Website
DIRECTOR Susan K. Fried, PhD
Associate Directors George L. Blackburn, MD, PhD
Andrew S. Greenberg, MD


The Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center (BNORC) is a consortium of institutions -- BMC, Tufts Medical Center and the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, the Harvard School of Public Health, and three Harvard Hospitals, the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Our Cores, Pilot and Feasibility Program and annual programs, retreat, seminars and workshops promote inter- and multi-disciplinary research in nutrition and obesity.

Our Center is organized to address four cross-cutting themes that represent key gaps in understanding the relationship between nutrition and health, and the pathogenesis of obesity and its associated metabolic diseases.

Key areas of nutrition and obesity research across these themes are facilitated and fostered by BNORC Cores:
  1. Adipose Biology and Nutrient Metabolism (at BMC and Tufts)
  2. Transgenic (at BIDMC)
  3. Epidemiology and Genetics (at HSPH)
  4. Clinical and Community Research (at Tufts and MGH)
  5. Administrative (BNORC)


Adipose Tissue Biology and Nutrient Metabolism Core (ABM)
Stocks of frozen stromal cells (preadipocytes) and adipose tissue samples:
  • Frozen preadipocyte stocks from visceral (omental, mesenteric, epiploic) and sc (abdominal, gluteal, thigh) human adipose tissue (in many cases samples are paired, 2 or 3 depots/individual).
  • Plated human preadipocytes or differentiated adipocytes for preliminary studies.
  • Tissue samples: banked quick frozen or fresh upon special arrangement of human (non-obese, obese and reduced obese men and women from abdominoplasty or elective surgeries and needle biopsies) or mouse adipose (low or high fat fed) or other metabolically important rodent tissues — liver, muscle when available.
  • Cell or tissue homogenates, RNA, cDNA, adipose conditioned media and bloodfromhuman and rodents.
Hands-on Training in:
  • Human adipose tissue aspirations, handling and storage.
  • Methods for preparing isolated fat cells from human and rodent adipose tissues for metabolic studies, methods for measurement of adipocyte metabolism (e.g. lipolysis, adipokine release, glucose uptake and metabolism, lipogenesis, hormone signaling), and methods for adipocyte sizing.
  • Adipose tissue processing for histology/immunohistochemistry, RNA, DNA, and protein extraction.
  • Isolation of adipose stromal cells from human and rodent adipose tissue.
  • Methods for preadipocyte culture and differentiation into adipocytes (human and rodents).
  • Adipose tissue explants cultures, measurement of adipokines.
  • Knockdown and overexpression of specific genes in cultured preadipocytes and adipocytes using siRNA, shRNA, and lentiviral or adenoviral vectors.
  • Harvest of rodent adipose and other metabolic tissues.
  • Preparation of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF).
  • Provide standardized protocols and advice on optimal methods for use and sizing of collagenase-isolated adipocytes for metabolic studies (e.g. lipolysis, glucose uptake and metabolism, lipogenesis, hormone signaling) for a specific experiment.
  • Provide advice on experimental designs for adipocyte and adipose tissue experiments in rodents and humans.
  • Adipocyte sizing — choice of optimal techniques for specific objectives (Coulter counter, photo-microscopy, histology methods — including crown-like structures.
  • Design of nutrition interventions for animal model and human studies, including procedures and timing for fasting/feeding/refeeding, selection of appropriate controls for high fat diets, and considerations in the choice of fat, protein and carbohydrate sources to best achieve experimental objectives.
  • Development of new methods as needed by users.

After consulting with the Core Director, please submit the Core User Request Form.

Susan K. Fried, PhD (BU School of Medicine)

Andrew Greenberg, MD (Tufts University and HNRCA)

Assistant Director
Mi-Jeong Lee, PhD (BU School of Medicine)