The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies is a non-profit organization dedicated to research, education, and advocacy in the field of nutrition, particularly in the area of plant-based nutrition. The Center is based at Cornell University and is affiliated with the Division of Nutritional Sciences. The Center works to promote a whole-food, plant-based diet through research, education, and advocacy. The Center works in collaboration with Cornell faculty, students, and staff to advance its mission. The Center also offers a Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate Program in partnership with eCornell, which provides a comprehensive education in the science and practice of plant-based nutrition. The program is designed to provide health professionals with the knowledge and skills to effectively counsel their patients on the health benefits of a plant-based diet.

T. Colin Campbell

American biochemist
T. Colin Campbell

Campbell speaking in 2013
Born (1934-03-14) March 14, 1934 (age 88)
Education B.S. (1956), pre-veterinary medicine, Pennsylvania State University
Veterinary school, one year, University of Georgia
M.S. (1958), nutrition and biochemistry, Cornell University
Ph.D. (1961), biochemistry, nutrition, and microbiology, Cornell University
Occupation Nutritional biochemist
Notable work The China Study (2005)
Spouse Karen Campbell
Children Thomas M. Campbell, Keith E. Campbell, Nelson Campbell (sons)
Website T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies

Thomas Colin Campbell (born March 14, 1934) is an American biochemist who specializes in the effect of nutrition on long-term health. He is the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University.

Campbell has become known for his advocacy of a low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet. He claims responsibility for coining the term “Plant-Based diet” to help present his research on diet at the National Institutes of Health in 1980.[citation needed] He is the author of over 300 research papers and four books, The China Study (2005, co-authored with his son, Thomas M. Campbell II, which became one of America’s best-selling books about nutrition), Whole (2013), The Low-Carb Fraud (2014) and The Future of Nutrition: An Insider’s Look at the Science, Why We Keep Getting It Wrong, and How to Start Getting It Right (2020) Campbell featured in the 2011 American documentary Forks Over Knives.

Campbell was one of the lead scientists of the China–Cornell–Oxford Project on diet and disease, set up in 1983 by Cornell University, the University of Oxford, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine to explore the relationship between nutrition and cancer, heart, and metabolic diseases. The study was described by The New York Times as “the Grand Prix of epidemiology“.

Early life and education

Campbell grew up on a dairy farm. He studied pre-veterinary medicine at Pennsylvania State University, where he obtained his B.S. in 1956, then attended veterinary school at the University of Georgia for a year. He completed his M.S. in nutrition and biochemistry at Cornell in 1958, where he studied under Clive McCay (known for his research on nutrition and aging), and his Ph.D. in nutrition, biochemistry, and microbiology in 1961, also at Cornell.


Campbell joined MIT as a research associate, then worked for 10 years in the Virginia Tech Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, before returning to Cornell in 1975 to join its Division of Nutritional Sciences. He has worked as a senior science adviser to the American Institute for Cancer Research, and sits on the advisory board of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. He is known in particular for research, derived in part from the China study, that appears to link the consumption of animal protein with the development of cancer and heart disease. He argues that casein, a protein found in milk from mammals, is “the most significant carcinogen we consume”.

Campbell has followed a “99% vegan” diet since around 1990. He does not identify himself as a vegetarian or vegan because, he said, “they often infer something other than what I espouse”. He told the New York Times: “The idea is that we should be consuming whole foods. We should not be relying on the idea that genes are determinants of our health. We should not be relying on the idea that nutrient supplementation is the way to get nutrition, because it’s not. I’m talking about whole, plant-based foods.”

He has been a member since 1978 of several United States National Academy of Sciences expert panels on food safety, and holds an honorary professorship at the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. He is featured in the documentaries, Forks Over Knives, Planeat, Vegucated, and PlantPure Nation, a film produced by Campbell’s son, Nelson Campbell. Campbell is also on the advisory board of Naked Food magazine.


He is the founder of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, a 501(c)(3) organization, which was created to provide education about the whole food, plant based diet Campbell recommends. The Center partners with eCornell to provide an online course which is the focus of the education programs. Campbell is the president of the board of directors for the Center.


Campbell’s h-index according to Web of Science using core collection author search for “Campbell TC*” and “Cornell University” as of February 2017 is 28 with total citation count without self-citations being 2,504.

See also


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