Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Obesity Research Interest Group

Welcome to the webpage for the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) / Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP) Obesity Research Interest Group, or the “ORIG” for short.

The mission of this CICATS/CHIP group is to bring together researchers and stakeholders from the greater Connecticut community who share a common interest in understanding, preventing, and treating obesity and related co-morbidities.  The group has over 100 members from multiple campuses and over 20 departments at UConn, and it also includes community partners and researchers from other institutions in the region.

The group meets twice a year, co-sponsors obesity-related talks as part of the CHIP lecture series, and hosts an information/discussion listserv.

Join Us

To join the ORIG, contact Dr. Amy Gorin at amy.gorin@uconn.edu.

Leadership Team

The CICATS/CHIP Obesity Research Interest Group Leadership Team is comprised of faculty from both UConn-Storrs and UCHC and is headed by Amy Gorin:

Amy Gorin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Psychology
Michelle Cloutier, M.D.
Professor, Pediatrics
UConn Health
Helen Swede, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Community Medicine
UConn Health
Linda Pescatello, Ph.D.
Board of Trustees Distinguished
Professor, Kinesiology
Amy Mobley, Ph.D., R.D.
Assistant Professor, Nutritional Sciences
Alicia Dugan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Medicine
UConn Health

What can ORIG do for you?

ORIG Highlights: 2013-2015

ORIG sponsors a variety of activities throughout the year.

  • In both Fall 2014 and Spring 2015, the ORIG sponsored and promoted several CHIP Lecture Series speakers on obesity topics: Melicia Whitt-Glover (Ph.D., Gramercy Research Group) gave a presentation entitled, “It Takes a Village: Strategies for Changing Physical Activities in Community;” Marlene Schwartz (Ph.D., Yale University, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity) gave a talk entitled, “Improving Children’s Nutrition with Strategic Science;” CHIP Affiliate Valerie Duffy (Ph.D., Allied Health Sciences) made a presentation entitled, “Can we assess health behaviors by simply asking liking/disliking? Evidence from dietary-based studies;” and Suzanne Mitchell (M.D., Boston University School of Medicine) spoke on, “Women in Control: Virtual World Diabetes Self-Management Education for African American Women with DM.”
  • In Fall 2013, ORIG hosted a “speed dating” meet-up in which researchers each had 2 minutes to present 1 slide summarizing their obesity research interests and collaborator needs. The event brought together researchers from UConn Storrs, UConn Health, and the community.
  • In Spring 2014, a day-long workshop with an associated funding opportunity was held titled “Thinking Big about Obesity: Building Team Science Initiatives atUConn andUConn Health.” This workshop was designed to create interdisciplinary teams interested in conducting obesity research. Morning sessions featured presentations on key trends and funding mechanisms for team science from three experts from the National Institute of Health. Afternoon breakout sessions gave groups the opportunity to brainstorm and develop team research ideas in various obesity-related topics ranging from genetic risk factors for obesity to community-based participatory approaches to addressing obesity. Workshop participants and ORIG members were invited to apply for seed grants of up to $10,000 apiece to assist new teams of investigators to move their shared research agenda forward in preparation for writing large-scale external funding proposals. The three funded proposals were entitled:
    • Predictors of Weight Loss Success after Bariatric Surgery: Baseline Status and Post-Surgical Alterations in Oral Sensory Phenotype and Food Preference”
    • “Husky Move: Fundamental Movement Skills in a School-based Comprehensive Program”
    • “Preventing and Reducing Obesity in Aging Populations through Workplace Interventions: A Proposal from the Occupational Obesity and Aging Research (OOAR) Working Group

    This event and the associated funding opportunity were sponsored by the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) and organized/administered by CHIP.

  • In Spring 2014, a CHIP-sponsored seed grant competition was held in the area of obesity, and one $15,000 award was made. The winner was CHIP PI Linda Pescatello from the Department of Kinesiology. Her winning grant was titled “A Firefighter Physical Test & Training Program for Cardiovascular Health.”