Pepsi opens New Haven research lab

Yale scientists have a new colleague in PepsiCo.

The food and beverage giant opened a research laboratory last week at 25 Science Park. In New Haven, the corporation will also fund a graduate fellowship in the M.D.-Ph.D. program at the Yale School of Medicine to support research on nutrition and obesity-related diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, PepsiCo spokeswoman Michelle Naughton said.

The laboratory, which is PepsiCo’s ninth global research laboratory, is part of the corporation’s plan to improve the nutritional value of its foods and beverages, Naughton said She said that by funding the fellowship, PepsiCo hopes to encourage new biomedical researchers to focus on nutrition research.

While PepsiCo’s laboratory will not officially be affiliated with Yale, School of Medicine Dean Robert Alpern said PepsiCo chose to have a laboratory in New Haven to collaborate with the school’s faculty, which Alpern said is known for its research in obesity and metabolism.

PepsiCo has funded research by School of Medicine researchers in the past, according to James Jamieson, director of the M.D.-Ph.D. program in the School of Medicine, which has 86 students this year.

Jamieson said six or seven researchers are currently working at the laboratory, which he said will be run by Mark Pirner, an endocrinologist who may eventually teach at the School of Medicine. Eventually, the laboratory hopes to employ 10 researchers, Naughton said. Students who receive the graduate fellowship, which is worth $250,000 over five years, may choose to work at the PepsiCo laboratory, Jamieson added.

PepsiCo chairman and chief executive officer Indra Nooyi SOM ’80 is a fellow of the Yale Corporation, the University’s highest governing body.

Contact rachel gilmore at .


  • Nancy

    Is it me, or is there something wrong with this picture? Pepsi is known for its popular soda, one of the most unhealthy beverages one can consume and that can contribute to obesity and diabetes.

  • @ Nancy

    Clearly, Nancy, you are being needlessly cynical. The fact that the Yale School of Medicine is willing to accept funding from PepsiCo, or otherwise work with it, couldn’t possibly influence what their researchers choose to investigate. Giving credence and institutional/academic suport to a company that is one of two most responsible for the current health problems in this country couldn’t ossibly make it more difficult for legislation to pass that would regulate these beverages.

    While we are at it, let’s get PepsiCo to increase our financial aid budget in exchange for exclusive contracts with Yale Dining and leins to the same effect on University Properties land. Better yet, why doesn’t the University just sell itself to PepsiCo? We’re already a corporation (and run like one); we have excellent connections with China and India (billions of new customers!); and plenty of students who in the current economy would find management in PepsiCo a safer bet than i-banking or consulting; and a president committed to Yale being at the fronteir of biomedical science — When you’re part of the disease, you have a head start on discovering a cure!

    Congratulations, Mrs. Nooyi.

  • Tobacco

    Why no bother about research funding applications to study decades of corrupt laboratory techniques in the tobacco industry?

  • TD’04

    #2: Right, because “credence and academic/institutional support” are critical factors in the tricky world of choosing and purchasing soda. Phew! Thanks, Yale, for facilitating my sugared water habit. I was holding out for the Institute for Advanced Study to come through with an RC Cola deal, but no joy.

    Really, the first two comments are absurd. If there’s a medical breakthrough as a result of Pepsi’s money – that otherwise would not have happened – don’t we all benefit? Who cares where the money came from? If Yale uses Pepsi’s money to present research damning their product, well, too bad for Pepsi, and I suspect they would have seen it coming. If Yale doesn’t take Pepsi’s money, will the company magically stop selling its product?

    All medical research is good.

  • return

    Coke is way better

  • Tanner

    What a was of money. Well at least its not taxpayer money going to this nonsense. To be fair I like Coke better, however. Here’s my finding.
    I drink to much soda and I don’t A)Brush my teeth, I get cavitys or more cavitys. B)Don’t excercise, I gain wieght, or more weight then my food added on my butt. C)If I drink it after 9pm I may not fall asleep till after 11pm. But the Government has helped by raising the tax on soda I drink less Coke, or it might be that its been below freezing. Oh and fear not Pepsico I do consume Gatorade.
    OH bye the way, when will the monthly “Is Coffee good/bad for us” tri annual report?