NORC - Centers

University of Washington

DIRECTOR Alan Chait, MD - University of Washington NORC Website


The overall theme of the research supported by the University of Washington's NORC focuses on the role of nutrition in the etiology, prevention, and management of chronic disease. The center's research is based on four central themes:
  • Body Weight Regulation & Obesity
  • Adipose Tissue Biology & Inflammation
  • Lipids & Atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
The objectives of the University of Washington NORC are to:
  • Promote multidisciplinary interactions in nutrition and obesity research by providing an attractive and nurturing environment designed to increase productivity, enhance efficiency, and generate new ideas through organized interdisciplinary collaborative efforts and dissemination of research information among scientists and clinicians of various backgrounds.
  • Integrate, coordinate, and foster interdisciplinary collaborative studies among investigators interested in nutrition and obesity at the University of Washington.
  • Provide initial support for junior investigators or those new to the field of nutrition and obesity, and to stimulate the application of knowledge from related fields to the area of nutrition and obesity.
  • Improve education in nutrition and obesity research and in the practice and principles of clinical nutrition for medical students, students in allied health professions, and practicing physicians.


Adipose Tissue and Lipid Biology Core
The Adipose Tissue and Lipid Biology Core provides assistance for in vivo and in vitro studies, as well as consultation. Services include:
  • Murine Adipocytes
  • Adipocyte Transfection
  • Stromal Vascular Cells
  • Lipoprotein separation/quantification
  • Cellular Glucose and/or Fatty Acid Oxidation Assay
  • Consultation
Mouse Atherosclerosis Subcore
  • Tissue preparation and processing
  • Methods for evaluation of atherosclerosis
  • Immunohistochemical analyses of mouse tissues
  • Multiple sequential staining on mouse tissues
  • Deconvolution microscopy
  • Histological and immunohistochemical evaluation of adipose tissue and liver
  • "Candy cane" aorta analyses
For more information, please visit the core's web page.

Analytic Core
The Analytic Core provides Affiliate Investigators access to high-quality, cost-effective nutritional assays, and new methods development as well as consultation. Services include quantitative measures of:
  • Nitrogen containing compounds
  • Carbohydrates and related compounds
  • Lipids and related compounds
  • Minerals and trace elements
  • Vitamins
  • Murine assays
  • Targeted metabolomics
  • Targeted proteomics
  • New methods development: HPLC, GC, atomic absorption, ELISA, etc.
Metabolomics Subcore:
  • Targeted Metabolite Profiling
  • Global Metabolite Profiling
  • Statistical and Pathway Analysis
For more information, please visit the core's web page

Energy Balance and Glucose Metabolism Core
The Energy Balance and Glucose Metabolism Core provides Affiliate Investigators with a comprehensive, state-of-the-art resource for measuring energy balance and body composition, for characterizing metabolic and diabetogenic phenotypes and for utilization of sophisticated imaging techniques relevant to nutrition and obesity.

Indirect calorimetry and related services for rodents:
  • Total energy expenditure by indirect calorimetry under temperature- and humidity-controlled conditions
  • Locomotor activity
  • Meal pattern analysis/continuous measures of total daily food and water intake
  • Continuous body temperature monitoring
  • Running wheel activity
  • Food preferences
Body and tissue composition:
  • Noninvasive body composition analysis for measures of fat mass, lean body mass and water content in conscious rats and mice
  • Biopsy sample triglyceride content in tissue samples as small as 30mg
  • Tissue and blood collection for subsequent processing and analysis by the UW NORC Analytical or Adipose Tissue and Lipid Biology Core
  • Insulin tolerance test
  • Glucose tolerance test
  • Euglycemic glucose clamp combined with tracer dilution techniques (rats only)
Subcore personnel can acquire and process images and/or perform statistical analysis of imaging data for the following existing protocols:
  • Body composition analysis and quantification of intra-abdominal fat by iDXA or CT/MRI
  • Functional MRI of brain response to visual food cues and/or oral intake including oral glucose tolerance tests
  • Structural  MRI of the hypothalamus
  • Fat-water MRI of small animals to measure visceral and subcutaneous fat depots
  • Mouse brain MRI
For more information, please visit the core's web page