Nutrition & Metabolism

Early nutrition has a profound effect on later health, most outspoken in preterm infants. Our research programme focusses on possible mechanisms how nutrition affects outcomes through basic reserach, while simultaneously clinical studies are conducted trying to identify optimal feeding strategies. Most studies are performed in the neonatal phase (mice, piglets and (preterm) infants), but also obesity related interventions are undertaken. The effect of human milk on various outcomes dominates our current research programme.

Techniques range from stable isotope methodology to gain insight in intermediary metabolism to RCTs to determine relevant outcomes.

Collaboration is with a wide variety of institutes across the world, with an emphasis on Denmark, USA and China.

Research Topics

Early Nutrition

Early nutrition has a profound effect on later health or disease. This is most outspoken for infants born preterm but is certainly true for term infants as well. A broad range of topics that addresses these issues are currently the focus of our main research:

Human Milk:

In a series of studies the effect of human (donor) milk on short term and long term are investigated. The composition of human milk (proteomics/peptidomics), factors that influence the composition (i.e. stress, but also processing techniques (pasteurization) and the impact of human milk versus formula are investigated.

Nutrition, body composition & metabolic processes:

Using stable isotope techniques, many different aspects of metabolism can be investigated. We foucs on amino acid requirements, aiming to develop an optimal infant formula with the lowest risk of developing obesity. These studies are taken place in European networks, funded by the EU. Our group has the possibility to determine body composition in various ways and at various ages. Obesity research is another topic opf interest, again trying to modulate diet or timing of introduction of complementary feeding. Finally, in close collaboration with the Juliana Children’s Hospital, The Hague, lost emphasis is put in iron requirements of children.

Ethics in Pediatrics

Participation of children in research demands additional precautions as the subjects are not always able to decide themselves. Our research has focused on the age that children can participate in the consent procedures and continues in that field. Another topic is end-of-life decisions, both from the parents and health provider point of view.


Prof. Dr. J.B van Goudoever
Prof. dr. R.M. van Elburg

Staff Members
Dr. Schierbeek, H. PhD
Dr. de Vos-Broerse, M.A.

PhD Students
Akkermans M.D.
An N.
Beukers F.
Colenbrander D.A.
Gaasterland C.M.W.
Gigengack M.
van Ham K.
van Harskamp D.
Ingelse S.A.
Mank E.
Nieuwenhuijse A.M.
Oosterink J.E.
Schoonenboom J.E.
Schreurs R.R.C.E.
Schüller I.
Veenendaal N.R