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Floyd Chilton, PhD

Floyd “Ski” Chilton, PhD, studies both how diet-gene maladaptations can cause disease in certain individuals and populations and whether personalized nutrition can address gene-diet interactions that cause diseases. He partners with industry to develop products and therapies that use precision-based diets to improve human health.

Floyd Chilton, PhD

About Floyd Chilton

After earning his doctoral degree in biochemistry from Wake Forest School of Medicine in 1984, Floyd Chilton, PhD, completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology at the University of Colorado in 1986. He worked as an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before returning to Wake Forest School of Medicine in 1991, where he founded the Molecular and Translational Medicine Program.  He has won numerous awards for his work, including 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.

Most recently, Chilton’s research has examined how genetic and epigenetic variations interact with diets to drive inflammation and inflammatory disorders such as cardiovascular disease and cancer, as well as psychiatric and developmental disorders like ADHD, autism spectrum disorder and depression. This individualized and population-based nutrition research provides a variety of opportunities to benefit people around the world, from mitigating racial and ethnic health disparities to creating foods that can optimize immune system and brain development.

Along with other researchers from Wake Forest Baptist, Chilton has developed a sustainable source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids to optimize omega-3 ingestion in animal feeds and human diets. He developed a novel recombinant vector that increases the production of specific highly bioavailable omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids when inserted into the genome of cyanobacteria. This sustainable source of omega-3 and protein-enriched animal product can be used to feed fish, poultry, pork and beef that will produce omega-3 products for human consumption. The recombinant cyanobacteria and its extracted products can also be a source of protein and omega-3 for direct human consumption.

For two years, Chilton served as president, chief executive officer and chief technology officer of Pilot Therapeutics, a biotechnology company he founded in 1999 to develop medical food products specifically designed to address dysfunctional lipid metabolism in chronic human diseases such as asthma, coronary heart disease, allergic rhinitis, cancer, cystic acne and rheumatoid arthritis. He took the company public in 2001 and was named as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Carolinas in 2003.

Chilton is an author of five books focused on nutrition, diet and physical and mental health. These books include Inflammation Nation, Win the War Within, The Gene Smart Diet and Made to Crave Action Plan. His most recent book, The Rewired Brain, addresses the issue of the unconscious mind, its capacity to impact our lives negatively and how thought patterns induce epigenetic changes that alter brain circuitry.

Chilton believes that the world has entered a brave new era of precision medicine and nutrition that has moved beyond one-size-fits-all nutritional approaches to promote physical and mental health. With over 20 patents issued and having founded and run a biotech company, he has both experience in and appreciation for the role business plays in the advancement of science and the development of new products and therapies. Such industry partnerships help to create the sustainable society that he envisions—one that uses personalized nutritional approaches to optimize health.

Specialties

Floyd Chilton, PhD, professor of physiology & pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, specializes in:

  • Inflammation
  • Personalized nutrition
  • Genomics
  • Metabolomics
  • Lipid biochemistry
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids
  • Nutrigenomics
  • Inflammatory disease prevention