VUMC Diet, Body Composition, and Human Metabolism Core

Overview of Services

The Vanderbilt Diet, Body Composition, and Human Metabolism Core provides a valuable resource for all investigators (both within Vanderbilt as well as those at other institutions and organizations globally) who do not have ready access to personnel with the training and expertise in state-of-the-science methodology for obtaining valid and reliable assessment, intervention, and analyses of dietary intakes, nutritional status, body composition, physical activity, and energy balance. All services are tailored to meet the specific needs of the investigator and research aims.
The primary objective of the Core is to provide valid, reliable, appropriate and cost effective methods to investigators that facilitate all types of human research (T1, T2 and T3) and study designs. These methods include: 24 hour diet recalls, diet histories, food records/diaries, food frequency questionnaires, observed intakes and weighed intakes of all forms of dietary and nutrient intake (foods, beverages, dietary supplements, liquid nutrition supplements, enteral tube feedings, parenteral support and medications). Secondly, the Core offers diet, menu and recipe development and analysis. Thirdly, the Core offers comprehensive assessment of nutritional status and protocol specific nutrition and physical activity education, counseling and interventions. The Core also has extensive expertise in body composition methodology and performs measurement of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue in specific body regions or the whole body. In addition to this technical support, the Core provides expert advice on the advantages and limitations of the various diet, nutrition, body composition and metabolic methods to utilize in study design and interventions, as well as training to health care professionals in these methods, analysis and interpretation of results. Finally, we have a recruitment registry of >2800 adults (mostly with BMI > 25) interested in participating in clinical trials.
The Core provides space, equipment, supplies and personnel for data collection and analysis. Investigators pay a fee-for-service that covers all costs related to the methods chosen. The Core provides these services by experienced registered dietitians and research assistants trained in performing valid and reliable procedures. The Core ensures a high level of quality control not only based on the expertise of the technical staff but also the stringent methods used to evaluate the quality of the data collected and analyses. In addition, the Core routinely surveys its users to make certain appropriate services are being provided and to assess future needs. The Core advisory committee evaluates the need to initiate or discontinue services annually.



Heidi J. Silver, Ph.D., RD
Core Scientific Director

Location and hours of operation

Hours Location

Monday - Friday
8:00am to 4:00pm        

5201 Medical Arts Building  

Links and Resources


Billing Number Activation

 VUMC Investigators with VUMC center numbers:
  All VUMC billing numbers are activated in iLab via a nightly feed from Workday. Grant Worktags are auto-assigned to the PI's lab group. All other funds (Cost Centers, Gift or Program Worktags) must be claimed within the PI's Lab Group.
 VU Investigators with VU CoA or POET numbers:
  VU users will manage the VU billing numbers via the webform on the VUMC Office of Research website
 Vanderbilt Investigators with VA (Veteran Affairs) funding: 
  Contact the VUMC Office of Research at to request access to your VA funding.  All investigators with VA funding are assigned a VA billing number (999999xxxx). The VUMC Office of Research manages VA billing numbers in coordination with the VA Research Administration.