Floyd "Ski" Chilton, PhD

Floyd "Ski" Chilton, PhD

Professor and Director, The Precision Nutrition and Wellness Initiative
Portrait of Ski Chilton


Personalized Nutrition and Wellness

Saturday, March 12, 2 p.m.
Rooftop Stage

DR. CHILTON'S TALK: Personalized Nutrition and Wellness: Transforming Sick-Care to Well-Care

We are on the brink of an amazing transformation in how we approach human health. Instead of a one-size-fits-all, frantic approach to cure disease, we now have the capacity to use a person’s unique characteristics (genetics, metabolism, health history, lifestyle) to effectively prevent diseases before they strike. This presentation covers two examples of this new science. First, evidence demonstrates that individuals from diverse populations often have different responses to specific nutrients, so recommended diets that benefit one individual may actually harm another. Second, recent research on COVID-19 assessed complex data from individuals using data science models (AI/machine learning) and showed great potential for determining which individuals are most likely to become ill and die. Q&A immediately following.


Dr. Chilton is passionate about providing solutions to overcome physical and emotional suffering so that people can live better, more joyful lives. He is a successful innovator in a wide range of areas including an academic professor (publishing over 150 scientific publications), an entrepreneur (starting four companies and one non-profit organization), and an inventor (holding over 25 patents). Dr. Chilton is widely recognized in academia and industry for his work on nutrition in the context of variation in the human genome, and he has been a pioneer in the areas of personalized or precision nutrition and wellness.

Precision nutrition and wellness explores the relationship between an individual’s genetics, epigenetics, microbiome, metabolism, diet, lifestyle, and behavior with the ultimate goal of developing tools that predict and prevent diseases instead of racing to cure disease after a diagnosis. These complex individualized data are acquired and then integrated using data science and applied mathematics tools such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. This in turn can leads to targeted inventions that address nutrition, lifestyle, and other traditional and integrative therapies along with ways to predict personalized responses and outcomes to these interventions.

Much of Dr. Chilton’s work over the past decade has focused on how individualize genetic variation interacts with human diets (especially the modern western diet) to drive inflammation and inflammatory disorders (including cardiovascular disease and cancer), as well as psychiatric/developmental disorders (ADHD, autism spectrum disorder, and depression). Of particular significance are his efforts to address health disparities in different populations and the potential role of gene-diet interactions in driving these disparities.

Most recently, Dr. Chilton directed a multi-medical center effort to identify key molecular mechanisms that underly lethal COVID-19. This research integrated highly sophisticated molecular, genomic, and clinical data utilizing machine learning and applied mathematical models. A primary mechanism was identified, and this work has raised the possibility of a specific therapy for severe COVID-19. A clinical trial has now been initiated to test potential drugs that block the newly identified mechanism. In addition to his research, Dr. Chilton has also had the opportunity to touch hundreds of thousands of lives as an author of five lay books focused on nutrition, diet, and physical and mental health. These books include Inflammation Nation (Simon and Schuster), Win the War Within (Rodale), The Gene Smart Diet (Rodale) and Made to Crave Action Plan (Zondervan). His most recent book, The Rewired Brain (Baker) addresses the issue of the unconscious mind, its capacity to negatively impact our lives, and how thought patterns induce genetic (epigenetic) changes that alter brain circuitry. This gives humans the capacity to rewire and change their minds and thus their lives.

Dr. Chilton has won numerous awards for this work, including the Alumni Achievement Award at Western Carolina University, the Denham Harmon Outstanding Research Achievement Award from the American College for Advancement of Medicine, and the 2016 Established Investigator Award at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Dr. Chilton has over 35 years of continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health.