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The Plants for Human Health Institute’s mission is to provide a global center for discovery and translation of plant and food innovations for disease prevention and health benefits. The continuum of plant genetics to crop breeding strategies, to foods and food processing, and ultimately to diet and health is a complex path. PHHI leverages world-leading expertise in nutrition, food and plant sciences to discover and deliver innovative plant-based strategies for advancing human health. 

PHHI is unique in that it supports an in-house outreach component, a group of N.C. State Extension personnel that works with institute faculty and Cooperative Extension agents and specialists statewide to deliver educational resources to enrich the lives and economy of North Carolinians.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at N.C. State supports the Plants for Human Health Institute with faculty from the departments of horticultural science; food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences; plant and microbial biology; animal science; and molecular and structural biochemistry. This transdisciplinary interaction strengthens the efforts of individual faculty.

Leading the discovery and delivery of innovative plant-based solutions to advance human health.

The Plants for Human Health Institute will emerge as the premier global center for the discovery and translation of the links between plants, disease prevention and health maintenance.


  • Goal 1:  Establish coordinated efforts in mobilizing resources to address health problems and ensure success with institute initiatives.
  • Goal 2:  Clarify and Deliver ways that the public can proactively counteract or reduce the rates of chronic disease through nutrition.
  • Goal 3:  Diversify, increase and sustain long-term funding; create mechanisms and incentives to build/enhance external partnerships.

Inspiring Future Scientists

  • Catalyst – The NCRC Catalyst group aims to meet the needs of students, fellows, and employees of the NCRC. Catalyst provides opportunities for professional development, networking and social activities, sharing research, and member advocacy. These opportunities are similar in nature to the offerings that may be found on the main campuses of the NCRC academic institutions. The Catalyst group involves people from all universities and companies on the NCRC, and connects them with each other to promote intra-campus collaboration. For more information about NCRC Catalyst, please visit our Facebook page. You can also contact Catalyst by email or join the Catalyst mailing list by submitting this form.
  • Internships –  PHHI faculty offer internship opportunities to high school, community college and university students. This provides students with the opportunity to learn laboratory techniques and to apply scientific methods in a hands-on environment at the state-of-the-art N.C. Research Campus. 
  • On-campus Tours and Classroom Visits – Engaging and challenging young minds with age-appropriate science lessons contributes to N.C. State’s commitment to STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). From growing cultures on a Petri dish to taste-testing nutritious fresh fruits, K-12 students are exposed to the possibilities of a career in science and technology.

History of the N.C. Research Campus

David H. Murdock, owner of Dole Food Company, Inc., envisioned a world-class research campus where collaborative science could yield discoveries in nutrition, health and plant sciences. Realizing the potential of the life sciences to help cure diseases and improve health, Murdock partnered with North Carolina to create an innovative, state-of-the-art research campus. The N.C. Research Campus has partnerships with public and private institutions of higher learning as well as local, national and global business ventures. About 30 miles north of Charlotte and 130 miles west of Raleigh, the N.C. Research Campus is located in Kannapolis. Where aging textile mill buildings once stood, modern laboratories and offices have risen. The first three campus buildings were dedicated and opened in October 2008.

Collaboration and Partnership at NCRC

The N.C. Research Campus’ basic philosophy is that transdisciplinary research will lead to groundbreaking discoveries.

  • The N.C. Research Campus includes representatives from eight universities, one community college, the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and corporate entities. Each brings expertise in specific areas that collectively will help to improve the nutritional value of food, identify prevention measures and cures for diseases, and generally improve human health and wellness.  
  • Academic campus partners include:
    • Appalachian State University
    • Duke University
    • N.C. A&T State University
    • N.C. Central University
    • N.C. State University
    • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • UNC Charlotte
    • UNC Greensboro
    • Rowan-Cabarrus Community College