Metabolism, Exercise physiology and Nutrition Research (MENtoR)

Program Overview

The MENtoR fellowship is a joint venture between the Department of Nutrition at  Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio and Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Devised in 2019 but halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal of this fellowship is to provide Nutrition and Nutritional Biochemistry & Metabolism students at Case Western Reserve University with the chance to experience diverse, hands-on, world-class research and mentorship in the areas Metabolism, Exercise Physiology and Nutrition at the state-of-the-art facilities of the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

With the implementation of this partnership and program, we hope to foster a better understanding and passion for research and professional growth in an individual looking to pursue a path in the dietetic sciences. This 6- or 8-week fellowship opportunity will provide a full-immersion experience in clinical-translational research under the guidance of world class research professionals in the field of Nutrition.

About Pennington Biomedical Research Center

At the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the causes of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia, Pennington Biomedical is home to approximately 54 faculty and more than 18 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 43 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities which focus on basic, clinical, and population-based research.

The selected candidate will be supervised by Assistant Professor Jacob Mey, PhD, RD, a CWRU Nutrition Department alumnus working in the Mitochondrial Energetics and Nutrient Utilization (MENU) Lab at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Fellowship Experience

MENtoR participants will have the opportunity to:

  • Observe Pennington’s world-renowned lifestyle interventions
  • Shadow expert technicians and clinicians performing advanced procedures
  • Administer, record, and analyze food records
  • Be fully immersed in clinical-translational research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center
  • Receive abstract critiques from established research professionals
  • Participate in the conduct of research related to one or more of the following areas:
    • Cell Culture Training in Procedures and Protocols
    • Feeding Studies and Dietary Interventions
    • Metabolic Kitchen/Research Diet Development
    • Dietary Recalls an Analysis and Assessment
    • Lifestyle Counseling
    • Translational Nutrition & Metabolism (indirect calorimetry, glucose tolerance tests, hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps, body composition, muscle biopsy, etc)

Fellowship Details

  • Full-time 6- or 8-week summer fellowship starting between May 15th and  June 12th  2023. Once a student commits to a start date/length, alterations to the agreement cannot be made.
    • Should a candidate need to remove themselves from consideration prior to the start of the fellowship, regardless of reason (medical, personal, circumstances beyond the student’s control, etc.), the candidate will not be entitled to any compensation.
    • Should the candidate need to vacate the fellowship at any point during the agreed upon period or if the fellowship is terminated by the candidate’s supervisor, the candidate will not be entitled to any compensation beyond that which is owed for time completed since the original full-time start date (not any future weeks/days).
  • The selected candidate will live on site in Baton Rouge (no virtual option) for the duration of the fellowship with the following expenses covered by the Department of Nutrition:
    • Transportation between Cleveland, Ohio and Baton Rouge, Louisiana in the form of round-trip flights (economy class) or gas mileage reimbursement (if driving).
    • Rent for a fully-furnished apartment on Pennington’s campus in Baton Rouge
    • A stipend of either $4,500 (6-week) or $6,000 (8-week) to cover the cost of food (on-site cafeterias; grocery stores/restaurants within 1 mile of campus)

Fellowship Expectations

While this fellowship program is meant to be a learning experience, it is expected that the selected candidate will treat this opportunity as they would any other full-time employment position.

  • Students will spend approximately 30-40 hours per week on research-focused work, depending on project/supervisor’s need.
  • Students are not permitted to work more than 8 hours in any given day or 40 hours in any given week, per Case Western Reserve University Student Employment policies.
  • Work will occur during standard working hours (approximately 9:00 - 5:00, M-F) or as mutually agreed upon by Dr. Mey and/or any other faculty at Pennington which you will be working with.
  • Any time off (interviews, vacation, etc.) must be approved beforehand. Length and duration to be discussed with Dr. Mey.

Student Responsibilities

Student accountabilities and responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Creativity, passion, and motivation for experience in the research environment
  • Plan and coordinate individual activities that contribute to project results.
  • Ability to work, coordinate, and perform tasks both independently and as part of a research team to meet project goals
  • Ability to effectively communicate both written/verbally to requests and provide, share, and explain information or findings
  • Professional conduct along with direct and punctual communication between the candidate student and their mentors at Pennington, and coordinators at CWRU

Selected candidates must abide by the rules and policies set forth by Case Western Reserve University (and the state of Ohio) as well Pennington Biomedical Research Center (and the state of Louisiana) which includes, but is not limited to, the agreement to adhere to the Pennington Biomedical Drug Free Workplace Policy for the duration of the fellowship.

Eligibility and Application Process

Applications are open to:

  • Full-time Nutrition or Nutritional Biochemistry & Metabolism BA/BS/IGS students
    • with a minimum JUNIOR standing, (with possible exceptions made with faculty support) AND who are scheduled for at least 1 more full-time subsequent semester at CWRU after the fellowship


  • Full time Nutrition MS
    • completing their first year of study by May 2023 AND who are scheduled for at least 1 subsequent semester at CWRU after the fellowship.
    • Preference will be given to applicants with a keen interest in dietetics research (especially those who are in the Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) pathway or R.D.- focused).

If the candidate is an undergraduate/IGS student, the following nutrition courses must be completed prior to the fellowship (can be in process at time of application) with a cumulative GPA from these classes of 3.30 (**preferred classes, but not required. Can be discussed):

  • NTRN 201-Nutrition
  • NTRN 342-Food Science
  • NTRN 343-Dietary Patterns
  • **NTRN 363-Human Nutrition I: Energy, Protein, Minerals
  • **NTRN 364-Human Nutrition II: Vitamins

If the candidate is a graduate student, the following courses must be completed prior to the fellowship (can be in process at time of application)  with a minimum GPA of 3.30.

  • NTRN 433/434-Advanced Human Nutrition I & II

The application and selection process will consist of:

  • Submission of the online application form, which will include the following:
    • A written statement of intent and post-graduation plans
    • Submission of an up-to-date CV/Resume
    • 3 professional references (1 must be external to Nutrition Dept. faculty)
  • Invited candidates will then participate in a virtual interview with Dr. Jacob Mey and selected Nutrition faculty members
  • Faculty from Pennington in conjunction with Nutrition Department faculty will select the final applicant
  • Interviews for potential candidates are scheduled to take place in early February 2023 with announcement of recipient following shortly.

Click here to apply.

If you have any questions regarding the application process, please email them to