Interdisciplinary Approaches

Tackling the grand challenge of improving nutrition can manifest in several ways depending on the lens through which the problem is viewed. We approached the challenge using the differing perspectives of our academic majors: biology, biochemistry, software engineering and computer science.

From these broad academic silos, a vast amount of knowledge can be compiled, combined, and  re-combined to view problems in a new and innovative way. However, if even one piece of information is 4711445710_2a1725a54b_mmissing, it is often impossible to reach a solution. If these missing pieces can be identified, as we attempted to do in our knowledge gaps assignment, then appropriate actions can be taken to close these knowledge gaps. While there are many effective ways to combine the ideas and research of the different majors, one possibility would be to combine the scientific knowledge of Biology and Biochemistry with the interactive potential of software engineering and computer science to create a real-time health assessment device. To see a more in depth explanation of this interdisciplinary approach, check out our Alternative Solutions page With scientists already embarking on this mission, we decided to leave it to the professionals, like those at the Beckman Laser Institute, to handle this option.

So, what did we do? Well, through our biology and biochemistry research, we realized that studying the direct and specific effects of nutrition on disease and obesity is nearly an impossible task due to the countless variables associated with diseases and overall health. The amount of knowledge we have, while valuable and applicable, pales in comparison to what we do not know or are unable to study.x4946e03Until a new form of study evolves or more advanced technology is developed, epidemiological studies will be our only way of gaining understanding of different foods and how they impact our body. However, our group identified a related issue regarding how this information is spread and portrayed across the four major parties with invested interest  in this grand challenge: nutritionists (including food scientists), clinicians, the government, and the public.

Taking the four represented majors into account, we attempted to use the scientific knowledge of the biologists and biochemists in conjunction with the technological capabilities of computer science and software engineering.

Browse the pages to the right to explore these specific takes on the problem more in depth.