HuiChuan Lai

Credentials: PhD

Position title: Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Pediatrics, and Population Health Sciences


I have been conducting research in cystic fibrosis (CF) for over 20 years with continuous support from the NIH-NIDDK and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). One primary focus has been the ongoing prospective multi-center clinical study known as FIRST (Feeding Infants Right… from the STart), which follows a birth cohort of 183 children with cystic fibrosis (CF) from the neonatal period until at least 6 years of age. The goals of FIRST are to determine the benefits and risks associated with exclusive breastfeeding, identify optimal feeding regimens during infancy, resolve the longstanding controversy of essential fatty acid supplementation, predict non-responders of nutritional therapies such as vitamin D supplementation, and advance our understanding in gut microbiome and its relationship to antibiotic exposure, acid blocker use and probiotic supplementation in children with CF. Additionally, in addition to the main studies, we have expanded FIRST by adding other ancillary components such as chest computed tomography and lung clearance index measured at ages 5-6 years and whole genome sequencing to gain insights on the contribution of genetic factors to nutritional and pulmonary outcomes. Although my current R01 on CF does not have an active diabetes component, I am looking into starting a study on CF-related diabetes in the next cycle of my R01 (renewal submitted in Nov 2021, hoping to get funded for 2022-27). In addition to my R01 on CF, I am the PD of a pediatric endocrinology T32 (C-DART, T32 DK077586).