Request for Information: Challenges and Opportunities in Precision Nutrition Research
Notice Number:

Key Dates

Release Date:
May 12, 2020
Response Date:
July 01, 2020

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Issued by

Office of Strategic Coordination (Common Fund)


A goal of Precision Nutrition, a subset of Precision Medicine, is to provide more precise and dynamic nutritional recommendations than currently possible through population-wide guidance. To advance this field, research is needed to achieve a deeper understanding of the interplay of human biological systems with the wide variety of factors known to underlie interindividual differences in dietary responses. Individual differences in genetics, epigenetics, microbiome ecologies, biology, nutritional status, behaviors, environments, and socioeconomic influences and disparities may influence these interrelationships, however their relative importance for driving interindividual variability and predictive values for Precision Nutrition are unclear. Insight into these factors can be gained using non-targeted “Omic” approaches (including genomics, epigenomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, metagenomics, etc.) and other targeted inputs (including continuous or discontinuous metabolic, endocrinologic, physiological, cognitive and behavioral measures, surveys, questionnaires, electronic health records, and community/environmental data, etc.).

To help identify the needs and priorities, and to plan future activities that can most significantly impact nutrition research, the trans-NIH Precision Nutrition Working Group of the NIH Common Fund, in collaboration with the NIH Nutrition Research Task Force, is seeking comments from the global community regarding conceptual, technical or methodological barriers limiting progress and to help prioritize research activities or community resources that are most likely to propel this field forward for the greater benefit of the biomedical research community.

Ongoing initiatives are already examining factors addressing interindividual variability in body weight responses to caloric restriction and meal timing (e.g., RFA DK-19-017, RFA DK-19-018, and RFA-AG-21-016). Therefore, an opportunity exists to examine other measures, exposures, and outcomes to inform algorithms that predict the most salient diet and nutritional interventions for individuals to achieve their optimal health. The working group is aware of inputs other Precision Nutrition programs have used to develop predictive algorithms such as genetics, epigenetics, microbiome measures, metabolomics, lipid panels, continuous glucose monitoring (CGM), sleep, physical activity and meal challenge responses.

Information Requested

This RFI seeks input from knowledgeable individuals and stakeholders throughout the scientific research community and the public regarding any of the following topics:

  1. Comments or caveats on inputs previously used to develop Precision Nutrition algorithms
  2. Additional measures that should be considered as inputs to develop Precision Nutrition algorithms
  3. Validated mobile apps, instruments (e.g. surveys or questionnaires), or other well-validated technologies that are available to capture these input measures (Question 2), either in clinical settings or remotely in large scale studies
  4. To rigorously and feasibly study the basis of individual variability in response to different challenge diets in a sufficient number of participants, controlled-feeding with a cross-over intervention design and short exposure periods (e.g., two weeks) could be used.
    • We seek input on the strengths or limitations of the above approach or suggestions of other relevant approaches that may better assess individual variability in response to different diets
    • We also seek input on three weight-maintaining dietary patterns (defined by food groups, nutrients, or varying macronutrient profiles) that would most likely elicit significant and clinically relevant individual differences in the above measures (Questions 1-3)
  5. Advantages and disadvantages of nesting such research within an NIH-funded, longitudinal cohort study

How to submit

Responses to this RFI must be submitted electronically to

Responses must be received by 11:59 p.m. on July 1, 2020.

Responses to this RFI are voluntary. Do not include any proprietary, classified, confidential, trade secret, or sensitive information in your response. The responses will be reviewed by NIH staff, and individual feedback will not be provided to any responder. The Government will use the information submitted in response to this RFI at its discretion. The Government reserves the right to use any submitted information on public NIH websites, in reports, in summaries of the state of the science, in any possible resultant solicitation(s), grant(s), or cooperative agreement(s), or in the development of future funding opportunity announcements.

This RFI is for information and planning purposes only and shall not be construed as a solicitation, grant, or cooperative agreement, or as an obligation on the part of the Federal Government, the NIH, or individual NIH Institutes and Centers to provide support for any ideas identified in response to it. The Government will not pay for the preparation of any information submitted or for the Government’s use of such information. No basis for claims against the U.S. Government shall arise as a result of a response to this request for information or from the Government’s use of such information.

NIH looks forward to your input and we hope that you will share this RFI document with your colleagues.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Holly Nicastro, Ph.D., M.P.H.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-435-0383

Christopher Lynch, Ph.D.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Telephone: 301-827-3988

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