Welcome to the department of Nutritional Sciences!
Nikhil V. Dhurandhar, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
As the founding chair of the newly separated department of Nutritional Sciences, I would like to take this opportunity to provide an update about the exciting progress of our department.
The Department of Nutritional Sciences separated from Hospitality and Retail Management, and continues to be housed in the Texas Tech University College of Human Sciences (COHS). The department has very strong undergraduate, M.S. and Ph.D., and dietetics programs, which includes more than 700 undergraduate and 75 graduate students from several nationalities, and faculty members who are internationally known for research and award winning teachers. Many faculty members are leaders in their professional organizations at state, national or international levels. Research expertise of faculty members of Nutritional Sciences range from molecular biology, animal models, clinical studies to community nutrition and their research collaborations include researchers from many countries such as Sri Lanka, Sweden, Brazil, China, and South Korea. Research focus areas include community nutrition, biochemical and molecular nutrition as well as clinical nutrition. The department has matching facilities and equipment including several recently renovated basic science laboratories with very modern equipment, dedicated clinical research facilities, and teaching laboratories. The department and the college place significant emphasis on instructional, professional mentoring and research support resources to facilitate teaching, research, and outreach and engagement. In 2014, our department was rated 23 among Nutrition Departments in the USA according to Academic Analytics. The total number of external research grants submitted in 2015 was 31 of which nine were funded, totaling $1,736,220. The twenty-member faculty published 60 articles during this year. The department has excellent resources for providing outstanding teaching and research at the forefront of science and technology related to food and nutrition research.
Graduate students in the department receive constant encouragement, and appropriate guidance and training to promote learning opportunities in many forms, including very popular study abroad programs and many online courses. Many outside speakers are regularly invited for seminars and graduate students are highly encouraged to interact with visiting faculty. They also have many opportunities year round to participate in graduate student research competitions held on campus. Leadership and engagement of graduate students is promoted by COHS through the "Student of The Month" Awards. The department has 20 graduate research assistants and 19 teaching assistants. A large number of graduate and undergraduate students receive research or travel awards from Texas Tech as well as external sources including preeminent international scientific societies such as American Society for Nutrition or The Obesity Society. The department and the university make every effort to support graduate student travel when they are presenting research at scientific conferences. Graduate students are also supported by offering the doctoral dissertation completion fellowships, grant-in-aid funding and several other fellowships or scholarships.
In summary, Texas Tech, COHS and the Department of Nutritional Sciences offer a very vibrant environment that is specifically cultivated to facilitate learning in many forms. Learning in and outside the classroom and a strong research environment is strategically encouraged by creating opportunities and by committing resources.
Even more exciting is our new "Nutrition and Metabolic Health Initiative," which will be a 20,000 square foot facility that will offer nutritional treatment of chronic disease such as diabetes and obesity and serve as a catalyst to facilitate basic and community research, community outreach and provide hands on training for students of dietetics and other health professional programs. We are planning for this very exciting endeavor in earnest.
I hope we get to visit with you and showcase in person our dedicated staff, faculty, and energetic students in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Please feel free to contact us with questions or for more information.