A dozen faculty members and graduate students are heading to Los Angeles to participate in The Obesity Society’s flagship research conference.
The Texas Tech University Department of Nutritional Sciences continues its quest to be among the world's leading programs in obesity and nutritional sciences with substantial contribution by its faculty and students to The Obesity Society (TOS) leadership and to TOS annual scientific sessions at ObesityWeek Nov. 2-6 in Los Angeles.
Department chairman Nikhil Dhurandhar is finishing his one-year term as TOS president and continues to serve his fourth year on the executive council as immediate past president for 2016. He also will serve as chair of the TOS leadership program and of the nominations and scientific review committees. Dhurandhar also will deliver a presidential address and participate as host for “The Tipping Point,” an educational play about reshaping conversations in obesity.
Members of Dhurandhar's research group also are active this year, with assistant professor Vijay Hegde serving as secretary-treasurer for the Obesity & Cancer section and as a member of the Early Career Grant Review Committee. Lab members also are involved in several research presentations related the causes and treatment of obesity.
Departmental biostatistician and assistant professor John Dawson will present his research, which relates to the methodology of modeling in biological systems. These procedures are often fragile but necessary during the analysis of the data. His poster describes a straightforward way to make the results of nonlinear modeling robust and provides a practical example.
Martin Binks, an associate professor and director of the Nutrition and Metabolic Health Initiative at Texas Tech, continues his three-year term on the TOS Executive Council as secretary-treasurer and continues to head up development activities for the coming year. He also will continue to serve as chair of the Infographic Education Task Force, regional coordinator for state level advocacy for a region that includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Colorado, and as a member of several other task forces and committees. At ObesityWeek, Binks will serve as co-chair for the Early Career Grant Challenge in the opening session, faculty for the Early Career Academic Workshop, and he will present as part of a symposium entitled “Media Messages: How to handle the starstruck patient.”
“This is an exciting time for early career TOS members as we have an increasing number of early career educational and scientific activities and available grants. We have even added our first dissertation and thesis awards competition,” he said. “The energy these students and early career members are bringing to the organization is wonderful, and Texas Tech's presence is substantial.”
Professor Naima Moustaid-Moussa, who also is director of the Obesity Research Cluster, will start a three-year term as member of the public affairs committee. Four doctoral students from her Nutrigenomics, Inflammation & Obesity Research Laboratory will present their research in poster sessions. Assistant professor Latha Ramalingam is one of five Early Career Research Grant Challenge finalists selected from nearly 70 applicants, and she will compete for a $40,000 research grant in this competition. Her grant topic relates to how a mother's intake of fatty acids from fish oil can reduce obesity-associated inflammation in her children.
Doctoral student Nadeeja Wijayatunga's poster on inflammatory and metabolic changes following weight loss surgery was selected as one of 10 winners in the basic science section poster competition, and fellow doctoral student Arwa Aljawadi is taking on a new leadership role as early career representative for the Obesity & Cancer section of TOS for the upcoming year.
“Our program continues to grow into a formidable and well-recognized presence on the world scientific stage at ObesityWeek and throughout the year in TOS leadership,” Dhurandhar said. “We truly are growing the future leaders in obesity research right here at Texas Tech. I am always invigorated by the presence of our students and early career members and what they bring to the field of obesity.”