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St. John's Research Institute, Bangalore, India is Re-designated as an IAEA Collaborating Centre

Handing over of new plaque by Mr. A Malavasi (IAEA Deputy Director General - Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications) and Ms. C. Loechl (IAEA Nutrition Section Head) to Mr. A. Kurpad (Head Nutrition Division, St. John's Research Institute), at left.

St John's Research Institute in Bangalore was designated as the first IAEA Collaborating Centre for Nutrition in 2010. The designation was renewed in May 2016.

With a focus on nutrition as well as on infectious and lifestyle-related diseases, the Institute uses stable isotope techniques for nutrition-related research and programme evaluation. Research collaboration with the IAEA has focused on a number of important areas: assessment of body composition and risk of non-communicable diseases; infant and young child feeding practices, energy expenditure/requirements of children, iron bioavailability, food-based strategies to improve vitamin A body pools, amino acid and protein requirements; and infectious diseases such as Helicobacter pylori and its linkage to iron absorption. The Institute has also produced videos and animations for the IAEA eLearning modules on nuclear techniques in nutrition.

St. John's Research Institute has excellent facilities for training courses and workshops and has hosted fellows and scientific visitors for training in stable isotopic techniques in nutrition. Services provided for analysis of deuterium enrichment in studies of body composition and breastfeeding practices, and analysis of doubly labelled water in studies of physical activity and energy expenditure were of benefit to Member States that do not have their own facilities.

During the first designation period from 2010 onwards, the laboratory facilities were gradually improved through the acquisition of new and different types of mass spectrometers. Over the next four years collaboration will concentrate on developing new education materials; accurate methods of assessing body composition in infants suitable for use in low resource settings; and non-invasive methods of assessing protein digestibility in infants. Capacity building in the use of nuclear techniques in nutrition will remain an important focus.

Based on the excellent experience of collaboration between the IAEA and the Institute, it is expected that the next four years will generate more high quality research and contribute to capacity building through South-South collaboration, and foster technology transfer in the use of nuclear techniques.

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