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child happily chooses from a bowl of vegetables

Welcome to our facility

The Metabolic Kitchen and Children’s Eating Behavior Laboratory is a shared research facility directed by Kathleen L. Keller, associate professor of nutritional sciences at Penn State. The facility includes a 1600 sq. ft. metabolic kitchen and feeding laboratory. This laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility for experimental meal preparation and sensory evaluation in children and their families. It was completed in September 2012, and is dedicated to studying nutrition in adults and children. It is available for investigators interested in studying these issues.

The facilities include:

Reception Area

A 165 sq. ft. reception area with seating for adults and children, as well as an activity table with toys and books.


Kitchen Manager Office

A kitchen manager office with file storage space and computers for data management.

Research Kitchen

A 580 sq. ft. kitchen with stainless steel work tables with over 50 square feet of workspace, a 3-bowl sink, 2-bowl sink, and an Americans with Disabilities Act compatible hand sink. Appliances include a 50 cubic ft. refrigerator, two 20 cubic ft. freezers, an industrial 6-burner range with oven, a commercial-grade under-counter dishwasher, a heavy-duty microwave oven, and high-speed blenders and mixers. In addition, the kitchen is equipped with cookware, serving utensils, glassware, and analytical equipment for measuring small quantities. The kitchen also has an 85 sq. ft. pantry, storage shelves, utility carts and student lockers.

Individual Assessment Rooms

Three individual assessment rooms are available for questionnaire assessments, taste tests, and eating behavior tests. These rooms can be equipped with red light to mask the appearance of presentation stimuli. Curtains are also available with these rooms that can be closed to increase participant privacy.

Group Dining and Conference Room

A 190 sq. ft. group dining and conference room includes seating for 12. A 52” flat screen television is mounted on the wall. This room is multi-functional, used for conducting focus groups, presentations, lab meetings, and for completing study questionnaires and consent forms.

Observation Rooms

Two observation rooms (90 sq. ft. and 106 sq. ft.) are included in this laboratory with height adjustable tables for compatibility with both adult and child-size chairs. These rooms are equipped for meal studies, subject interviews and nutritional assessment, as well as observational studies. Each observation room contains a one-way mirror, as well as a video camera connected to the two computer workstations outside the observation rooms. The workstation computers are connected to Penn State’s secure network and have capabilities for data acquisition via video software, as well as statistical analysis.

Note: Restrooms are located just outside the lab across the hall. The Laboratory is easily accessible by both stairs and elevator.