Christopher J. Lynch, Ph.D.

Christopher J. Lynch, Ph.D. was appointed Acting Director of the NIH Office of Nutrition Research (ONR) in January 2021. In this role he directly manages and supervises complex programs in nutrition research and participates in the development of new trans-NIH funding initiatives and workshops.

Responsibilities & Activities

ONR’s mission is to lead and coordinate NIH and trans-federal nutrition research in order to improve public health and reduce the burden of diet-related diseases. ONR is responsible for:

  • Collaborative leadership of trans-NIH nutrition research and training
  • Implementation of the Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research
  • Increasing the scope, quality, dissemination, and impact of nutrition research supported by the NIH
  • Strategic planning, portfolio analysis, budget and resource allocation, and assessment of nutrition research needs and opportunities that fall within the mission of the NIH
  • Coordinating nutrition research across other federal agencies through the Interagency Committee on Human Nutrition Research, the Nutrition Research Coordinating Committee, the Federal Data Consortium on Pregnancy and Birth to 24 Months, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Healthy People, and the FDA-NIH Joint Leadership Council’s Joint Agency Nutrition Workgroup.
  • Nutrition research stakeholder engagement


Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), appointed Christopher J. Lynch, Ph.D., as Acting Director of the NIH Office of Nutrition Research in January 2021.

Dr. Lynch completed Ph.D. studies at Northeastern University on the Regulation of Hepatic Glucose Output in 1983 and continued to work on this topic and hepatic calcium signaling at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He joined the faculty of Penn State University College of Medicine in 1988, where he led collaborative efforts to advance understanding of the role of branched chain amino acids (BCAA) in nutrient signaling and insulin resistance, metabolism of BCAAs, the metabolic side effects of antipsychotics, and the mechanisms of metabolic improvements after gastric bypass surgery. During his tenure at Penn State, Dr. Lynch co-chaired the Nutrition Task Force for Medical Curriculum and the medical school course in Gastroenterology and Nutrition along with graduate student courses and training. He served on the Institutional Review Board for the College of Medicine, Co-Chaired the Scientific Review Committee for Internal Research Funding and served on 40 NIH Study Sections and Panels.

In 2016, Dr. Lynch joined NIDDK in the dual role as the chief of a new Nutrition Research Branch of their Digestive Diseases and Nutrition Division, and Director, of the NIDDK Office of Nutrition Research. In that role he served as the Exec. Sec. of the Nutrition Research Task Force (NRTF) which developed the first ever Strategic Plan for NIH Nutrition Research and stood up seven trans-NIH implementation workgroups to guide its implementation. He also collaboratively led efforts to develop a common fund project that was announced in 2020, Nutrition for Precision Health, powered by the All of Us research program.  The first ancillary study nested in All of Us.


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This page last reviewed on August 30, 2021