Clinical Research Center

The Metabolism & Nutrition Research (MNR) Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital Clinical Research Center (CRC) performs research assessments, and provides expert staff and a facility for the conduct of such assessments, specialized meals and patient services to support our investigators.

The Massachusetts General Hospital Clinical Research Center (CRC) Metabolism & Nutrition Research (MNR) unit is a resource within the Harvard Catalyst, Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC). MNR prepares and provides routine and research meals, collects and analyzes nutrition intake data, and performs metabolic assessments using a variety of modalities. The ability of our MNR to provide services for inpatient, outpatient, and off-site visits offers investigators a specialized infrastructure for research studies.

Metabolism & Nutrition Research staff includes registered dietitians (RDs) with extensive research experience and support staff. The highly trained RDs collaborate with Investigators in writing grant applications including research design and budget planning, as well as developing comprehensive plans for study review and implementation procedures. As an integral study team member, the RD educates clinical research staff and participants regarding the metabolism and nutrition component of the study protocol, and interpretation of nutrition data. Data review and manuscript preparation are additional services available upon study completion. Functions of the MNR staff include the following:

  • Collaborate/consult with Investigators on study design
  • Collaborate with research team to develop research forms, including forms for data collection, subject education, assessment of compliance, and activity assessment
  • Participate in protocol meeting(s)
  • Evaluate protocols initially and on an on-going basis with team members including CRC staff, investigators and study staff
  • Educate study volunteers on protocol to optimize adherence
  • Evaluate adherence
  • Conduct interviews (PDF) and administer questionnaires with participants surrounding nutrition, activity and lifestyle
  • Council participants regarding nutrition activity and lifestyle according to research protocols
  • Provide standard meals and snacks (PDF) and/or research meals (PDF) to inpatient and outpatient volunteers
  • Design and prepare specialized weighed meals of specified composition including provision of specified calories, macronutrients, single or multiple nutrients, amino acids, micronutrients, and vitamins
  • Perform anthropometric measurements including stature & weight (PDF), hip and waist circumference (PDF), and skinfold (PDF) thickness
  • Determine energy expenditure using indirect calorimetry (PDF)
  • Measure bone mineral density using DXA (PDF)
  • Determine body composition by impedance (PDF) and DXA measurements
  • Available dxa reports and analyses dxa reports and analyses (PDF)
  • Analyze nutrient intake from food records (PDF), 24-hour recalls and food nutrient questionnaires
  • Perform exercise testing (PDF) and assessment of VO2 max
  • Compile nutrition data spreadsheets and provide basic statistical analyses for nutrient intake, activity levels and anthropometric data
  • Monitor quality assurance, including equipment calibration, anthropometric measurements, nutrient analysis, and food preparation


Dietetic Internship Program

The Dietetic Internship Program at Mass General is one of the oldest in the country and offers a unique variety of learning experiences in many areas of dietetics.