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About Us

Established in 2017, Nutrient Institute is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality and accessibility of food composition data. We achieve this by leveraging the expertise of our scientific advisory board to design effective solutions. Through collaboration with nutrition research and data science experts, we address critical issues in food composition quality, driving positive change in nutrition science and health outcomes.

Our Scientific Advisory Board are leaders in their respective fields and provide science and nutrition expertise.

Scientific Advisory Board

Nutrition Science

David Heber MD PhD

David Heber MD PhD

An internist, endocrinologist, physician, nutrition specialist and Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Public Health at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Heber, founded the Division of Clinical Nutrition in the Department of Medicine and established the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition. His primary research interests are obesity treatment and prevention, the role of nutrition, phytonutrients, and botanical dietary supplements in the prevention and treatment of common forms of cancer and cardiovascular disease. He is the author of over 250 peer-reviewed scientific articles, over 50 book chapters, and four professional texts. He has written four books for the public including national best sellers and was listed as a Best Doctor in America from 2001 to 2015 numerous times. He enjoys working out in his home gym, drawing and painting, and reading for pleasure.

Adam Drewnowski PHD

Adam Drewnowski PhD

A world-renowned leader in the study of obesity and social disparities in diets and health. Dr. Drewnowski is the inventor of the Nutrient Rich Foods Index, which rates individual foods based on their overall nutritional value, and the Affordable Nutrition Index, which helps consumers identify affordable healthy foods. He is Professor of Epidemiology and the Director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the School of Public Health. He is also the Director of the University of Washington Center for Obesity Research. Dr. Drewnowski’s interests are in characterization of dietary patterns, nutrition economics, spatial distribution of obesity rates and the development of new metrics to identify foods that are nutrient dense, affordable and sustainable.

Dr Li
Zhaoping Li MD

Zhaoping Li MD

Dr. Li is a Board Certified Internal Medicine and Nutrition Physician Specialist, Professor of Medicine and Lynda and Stewart Resnick Endowed Chair in Human Nutrition at David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. She currently holds the positions of Director of Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA and Chief of Division of Clinical Nutrition at UCLA’s Ronald Reagan Medical Center. She has been Principal Investigator for over 50 clinical trials in the fields of nutrition, obesity and botanical research. She has published more than 200 papers on various academic journals including JAMA, Lancet, and Annals of Internal Medicine. She is a fellow of American College of Physicians and fellow of the American College of Nutrition.

Dr Freeman
Britt Burton-Freeman PhD

Britt Burton-Freeman PhD

Her research approach exemplifies the mutli-disciplinary nature of nutritional science integrating aspects of nutrition, food science, food chemistry, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology/-kinetics, and behavioral sciences to characterize and understand physiological responses to diet and dietary components in humans during normal, stressed, and pathophysiological states. Her expertise is focused on how cardiovascular health and obesity is influenced by modern day eating patterns and protected by plant foods, which deliver select bioactive phytochemical components, such as flavonoids, fibers, and fats. Recently, her lab’s work has focused on the reciprocal interactions of the gut metagenome with the host genome in response to dietary intake of bioactive plant compounds.

Dr Layman
Donald Layman PhD

Donald Layman PhD

Nutritional biochemist and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is highly regarded for his research on amino acid metabolism, nutritional requirements during exercise and work with high protein weight loss diets. His area of research focuses on the impact of diet and exercise on adult health problems of obesity, type 2 diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.

Food Chemistry and Toxicology

Vasilioz (Bill) Frankos PhD

Vasilios (Bill) Frankos PhD

In 2010, Frankos retired from FDA, where he served as the director, division of dietary supplements programs, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN). He was FDA’s lead scientist for dietary supplements, responsible for the full implementation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). Previously, Frankos served in several other roles related to toxicological and pharmacological evaluation of data, and was a principal with ENVIRON for over 18 years. He has presented on FDA policies on dozens of occasions. Currently Dr. Frankos is senior vice president for global product science, safety and compliance at Herbalife.

Guy Crosby PhD

Guy Crosby PhD

Dr. Crosby (The Cooking Science Guy), has more than thirty years in food-related research. Currently, he teaches food science in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health and is the science editor for Christopher Kimball’s Milk Street. Previously he served as the science editor for America’s Test Kitchen where he co-authored the New York Times best-seller “The Science of Good Cooking” (2012) and Cook’s Science (2016). Most recently he was the sole author of “Cook, Taste, Learn – How the Evolution of Science Transformed the Art of Cooking” published in 2019 by Columbia University Press.

Data Science

Peter Frazier PhD

Peter Frazier PhD

Researcher at the interface of machine learning and operations research. Currently an Associate Professor in ORIE at Cornell University. Research interests are in optimal learning: settings where we learn from data that is time-consuming or expensive to collect, requiring that we make good decisions about how to collect it. This spans machine learning, operations research, and statistics. It includes surveillance testing in public health, design of experiments in medicine and materials science, tuning hyperparameters for machine learning models, the design of e-commerce systems, and many other applications. At the moment, Dr. Frazier is on sabbatic leave from Cornell, working as a Staff Data Scientist and Data Science Manager at Uber, where he manages the data science team for uberPOOL.


Our Team

We take a data-centric approach to providing transparent facts about foods and drinks, as well as promoting professionally accepted frameworks like nutrient density.

Emily Jennings-Dobbs MA

Analytics & Data Scientist

and Project Manager


Emily Jennings-Dobbs is the Analytics & Data Scientist at the Nutrient Institute. Having recently completed her MA in statistics from Columbia University, Emily is a devoted researcher on a mission to unlock the secrets of the universe. She is passionate about exploring data, finding hidden patterns, and learning new things.


Through her work at the Nutrient Institute, Emily leverages her knowledge of the food data landscape to find new and exciting ways to structure and transform nutrition data to meet the needs of researchers and scientists. She always strives to fully understand and become invested in the problems brought forward by nutrition experts, developing straightforward solutions that promote FAIR and usable data.


Fueled by curiosity and driven by the passion and wisdom of the scientific community, Emily loves to dive into new nutrition research topics, from protein quality to sustainable food systems. Always enthusiastic and fun-loving, she strives to expand interdisciplinary approaches to nutrition science!

Shavawn Forester PhD RDN

Shavawn Forester PhD RDN

Executive Director

Dr. Shavawn Forester, Ph.D., RDN, serves as the Chief Executive Officer at The Nutrient Institute, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to enhancing the quality and accessibility of food composition data. With a blend of expertise and open collaboration, she leads a team dedicated to making nutrient information reliable and easy to find.


A graduate of the University of California Davis, Dr. Forester holds a B.A. in Clinical Nutrition and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biology, emphasizing in neurophysiology. Her passion lies in understanding the intricate relationship between essential nutritional components and human health. In her role, Dr. Forester helps to identify gaps in food and nutrient data and develop practical solutions. She's a bridge-builder between nutrition and data science, focused on adhering to robust data standards and applicable frameworks to be utilized in nutritional sciences.


Through her efforts, successful projects at The Nutrient Institute facilitate researchers in their scientific endeavors and enable consumers to make informed choices about their diets. Dr. Forester's ultimate goal is to elevate food composition data, enabling precision nutrition and fostering better health outcomes through reliable information.

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