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University of Missouri

Reconstructing Nutrition

MU Nutritional Center for Health to open in renovated Gwynn Hall.

Gwynn Hall

Renovations to Gwynn Hall, built in 1920, will be complete in time for the spring 2014 semester. Photo by Nicholas Benner.

Chris Hardin can’t wait to open the MU Nutritional Center for Health in Gwynn Hall. The MUNCH facility — a research metabolic kitchen, teaching kitchen and observational research lab — will allow researchers to test all kinds of hypotheses related to nutrition.

“It is critical to our success,” says the nutrition and exercise physiology department chair.

When Gwynn reopens in January 2014 after more than a year of renovations, Hardin will also have easy access to study subjects. Just down the hall is the Child Development Lab, a teaching and research lab and child care center.

“We very endearingly call [the children] the MUNCHkins,” Hardin says.

Associate Professor Sara Gable can now study childhood food choices more easily by observing why children try new foods. Assistant Professor Heather Leidy, who researches the regulation of appetite, was drawn to MU because of MUNCH.

“This really is an instance of if you build it, they will come,” Hardin says.

Hardin is looking forward to the collaborations the center could foster among the College of Human Environmental Sciences; the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources; and the School of Medicine, from researching different glycemic index diets to the health benefits of new agricultural products.

Gwynn will also house three classrooms, a wet lab for chemical experiments, the MU Physical Activity and Wellness Center, the Missouri Historic Costume and Textile Collection, and the textile and apparel management department.

Similar to the renovations of Tate and Switzler halls, the Gwynn Hall construction was necessary to reduce the backlog of maintenance and repair projects.

More on campus renovations