Dr. Mehta is a physician with training and expertise in nutrition, epidemiology, infectious disease, and diagnostics. He is currently the Janet and Gordon Lankton Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University and serves on its executive leadership team. He is also the Founding Director of the Cornell Center for Precision Nutrition and Health and co-director of the NIH-funded Center for Point of Care Diagnostics for Nutrition, Infection, and Cancer as part of the POCTRN network. Dr. Mehta is the program director of the NIH-supported training program on artificial intelligence and precision nutrition. He also co-leads the Research Coordinating Center for the NIH’s Nutrition for Precision Health Initiative, and directs the Program in International Nutrition at Cornell.
The central theme of Dr. Mehta's research is the interplay between nutrition and disease, including facilitating field-friendly assessment for both and elucidating how nutrition can be used as a modifiable risk factor to improve health and associated outcomes, often in the context of pregnancy and early childhood. This is achieved through a combination of active surveillance programs, the invention of point-of-care diagnostics, and randomized controlled trials primarily in India, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America.
Dr. Mehta received his medical degree from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, India and followed it up with doctoral degree in Epidemiology and Nutrition from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US. His work has been recognized with multiple awards including a NIH technology accelerator challenge prize for innovative global health diagnostics, the Norman Kretchmer memorial award for nutrition and development, the Rainer Gross Prize for innovations in nutrition and health, and the SUNY Chancellor award for scholarship and creative activities.
The Mehta Research Group primarily works in India in the states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh and coastal Ecuador. Our focus is on vulnerable populations including mothers and children, and those suffering from infectious diseases such as HIV infection, Tuberculosis, Dengue virus infection, Zika virus infection, and Malaria.
The aspirational goal and guiding principle of our team is to deliver community health care in the community itself to either prevent poor health outcomes and/or reduce their severity/impact. Consequently, our research is on a) identifying risk factors that predict poor health in our communities as early as possible through active surveillance; b) inventing field-friendly devices such as the Cornell NutriPhone and FeverPhone to enable community-level or point-of-need diagnoses; and c) intervening to modify the identified risk factors mainly through sustainable interventions.
Given that a) the majority of the world is either over- or under-nourished; and b) diet and nutrition-related factors represent the largest proportion of risk factors for global mortality and morbidity, we often use nutritional interventions to modify the risk of adverse health outcomes in our research. Further, we examine the mechanistic linkages between nutrition and health - for example, we recently concluded a randomized trial of iron-rich pearl millet among children in urban slums of Mumbai to determine its effect on growth and immune function, among other outcomes, and are also assessing how this effect may be modified by the gut microbiome’s composition and function.
NS 6580: Advanced Epidemiology: Theory and Practice
NS 6980: Program in International Nutrition Seminar
Director, Cornell CHE Center for Precision Nutrition and Health
Director, Program in International Nutrition
Co-Director, Center for Point of Care Diagnostics for Nutrition, Infection, and Cancer for Global Health (PORTENT)
Director, NIH T32 Training Program in Artificial Intelligence and Precision Nutrition
Member, Institutional Review Board, Cornell University
2003, M.B.B.S., Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences
2004, M.S., Epidemiology, Harvard University
2009, Sc.D. , Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard University