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Dr. Anthony Comuzzie has officially started as TOS’s new Executive Director, and he’s hit the ground running!
TOS: You’ve been a TOS member for 20 years. What are a few things you’ve truly appreciated about your membership and association with TOS?
Tony: TOS has been my primary professional home since finishing my postdoc. In the summer of 1985, I had the good fortune to attend a FASEB summer conference on obesity organized by James Hill and Robert Eckel (both past presidents of the society) where I had the opportunity to meet many of the leaders, and those who would later become leaders, in the field of obesity research. And they were all members of NAASO! They encouraged me to join and I’ve reaped the member benefits ever since. In particular, I’ve greatly appreciated the scientific stimulation as well as the collegiality of the members, always willing to offer help and advice. This was invaluable to me when I was first beginning in this field.
TOS: Will your TOS membership be an asset as the new Executive Director?
Tony: Absolutely! My involvement as a TOS member provides me with a fresh and unique perspective on the organization that someone with a more traditional background in association administration might lack. In part, I have an appreciation for the history of TOS. Having witnessed first-hand the tremendous growth we have achieved over more than two decades is very helpful in understanding many of the challenges we are facing today. An example is membership engagement and benefits. As a member, I can relate to the needs of our membership in a way that would not be possible if I’d not been involved with TOS in a research or clinical setting. Scientific organizations and their members occupy a unique position in the non-profit space, and being a society member provides me with a clear appreciation for that unique position, the challenges we need to meet and the exciting possibilities the future holds.
TOS: As a scientist, you operated and funded your own lab for 25 years. Are there transferable skills and knowledge that will help you be successful at TOS?
Tony: As many of our members can appreciate, running a research program requires effective skills in communications, long range planning and budgeting and personnel management in an environment of shifting grant support. But while these skills will be of practical help on a daily basis, I also think that having applied these skills specifically in a research context offers me an understanding and appreciation of the day-to-day issues facing many of our members. This first-hand experience will help me better serve our TOS community. Additionally, my decades-long involvement in obesity-related research has given me a solid understanding of the relevant issues in our field which I can then use to facilitate programmatic objectives and strategic partnerships that will move both the society and the field of obesity forward.
TOS: What is your vision for the future of TOS? Can you share your immediate and long-term goals?
Tony: There are so many opportunities for continued growth at the society, and I’m eager to help us achieve our full potential. We have made tremendous progress in recent years on the clinical front with efforts to establish obesity medicine as a recognized board certified specialization, and I’m excited to support those efforts in any way I can. I’m also keen to work with our members to both revitalize our basic science component and bring back our lapsed members. One idea is to develop a series of intimate, highly focused meetings devoted to cutting-edge areas of basic research. Another idea, is to develop workshops on topics of interest to our members such as grant writing for investigators and effective mentoring for mid-career members. It’s also important, while we’re enhancing our member benefits, to expand our name recognition, society branding and position statements. TOS is a pioneering organization and I want to ensure that we continue to be a leader in the field of obesity.
TOS: What excites you most about being The Obesity Society’s new Executive Director?
Tony: While I’ve had a long and productive career in basic research, I am particularly excited to be able to contribute to the field in new, significant and more tangible ways. As Executive Director, I have the opportunity to help facilitate new initiatives not only related to basic research, but to clinical practice and advocacy as well. I’m also looking forward to strengthening our relationships with peer societies and developing and nurturing corporate connections. But perhaps the most exciting aspect of being Executive Director is working for an organization with a mission I strongly support. We have an engaging membership, a strong annual conference, a commitment to science and the advancement of the field of obesity and emerging new programs and initiatives. I am both honored and exhilarated to take on this role, support my fellow members and move The Obesity Society into a new era.
We are still accepting nominations for Council and the Nominating Committee through the end of the month. Nominees must be Fellows or regular members of The Obesity Society in good standing. North American and international residents are eligible for office.
There are FOUR vacancies on Council and THREE vacancies on the Nominating Committee:
To find out more information here and apply by June 30th.
- Vice President
- Council with Portfolio – Clinical Practice
- Council-At-Large: Representative for Mexico
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Obesity Journal & Obesity and Cancer Section
The Editorial Team of Obesity joins the leadership of the Obesity and Cancer Section to seek submission of high-quality manuscripts for a special supplement issue of the journal to be published in November 2017.
The special issue will be released concurrent with ObesityWeek 2017 and will be distributed on site in Washington, DC. All papers will be evaluated by peer reviewers who are experts in the field of cancer research, and final selections for the special issue will be made by members of the Obesity and Cancer section.
All manuscripts must be received by July 1, 2017.
To be considered, please submit your manuscript online and follow the guidelines for Original Articles. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Camille Schneider, RD
Fellowship is one of the highest honors The Obesity Society bestows. This week’s TOS Member Spotlight features a conversation with TOS Fellow Shalamar Dionne Sibley.
Q: What is your full name, credentials, and title?
A: Shalamar Dionne Sibley, MD, MPH, FTOS; Associate Professor of Medicine, Endocrine Division, University of Minnesota and Minneapolis VA Staff Physician
Q: What is your primary research question or clinical field?
A: I engage in Clinical and Translational Research (translating between bench and clinical medicine). Areas of research interests are metabolic syndrome-related pathophysiology and obesity treatments. I am also a practicing clinician in obesity management.
Q: How long have you been in your career?
A: If I include my Endocrine Fellowship training and research experience, which was obesity/metabolic syndrome-focused, I have been involved in this field for 21 years.
Q: What excites you the most about your work?
A: I like the creativity involved in research work, the review of what has been done before, and then thinking about paradigm shifts in how things fit together and what the next steps are. From a clinical perspective, I like working closely with patients and seeing them make the changes that lead to weight loss success and better health. I really like seeing how empowered they feel when they realize they can succeed at it.
Q: What advice do you have to offer early career obesity professionals?
A: It is important to find good mentors that you can connect with, and it’s also important to work on understanding your own motivating factors, strengths, and challenges. Continue reading here.
REGISTRATION for ObesityWeek 2017 in Washington DC, Oct. 29–Nov. 2, is OPEN! Use Promotion Code TOSNEW for an additional $20 registration discount.
Check out the interactive schedule and begin planning your agenda!
Here’re a few notable networking events to explore:
Monday, October 30th 2:30-5:00 pm
Join the Early Career Committee for its annual FREE Pre-Conference Academic Workshop. This year, Dr. Elizabeth Mayer-Davis from UNC Chapel Hill will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Mayer-Davis is the Cary C Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Nutrition and Medicine, Chair of the Department of Nutrition, and Co-Director of the Nutrition Obesity Research Center. Following the keynote, attendees will have the opportunity to participate in small group “roundtable” discussions on topics of their choosing. Table topics will include:
TOS Lightning Talks
- Biosketch/CV Review: Learn how to optimize your CV, better describe your scientific contributions and be more competitive for funding from experienced program officers and senior fellows.
- K-awards: Learn everything you need to know about NIH awards from David Saslowsky, PhD, Program Director for the Career Development (“K”) Awards in the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition NIH.
- Careers at NIH: Discuss game-changing NIH career opportunities with Jack Yanovski, MD, PhD, who is Chief of the Section on Growth and Obesity in the Program on Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics at NIH.
- Career Development: Learn how to navigate tricky negotiations and start-up packages, master interviewing and time management techniques and successfully establish your first lab.
- Networking: Learn the skill of effective networking and making a good first impression, highlighting your research at conferences and developing critical interpersonal skills.
Tuesday, October 31st 3:30-5:00pm
Twelve early career members with top-scoring abstracts will present their work as a 3-minute talk. They will be challenged to effectively and efficiently communicate their scientific findings to a broad audience using just one slide. Get a glimpse of the innovative obesity research being conducted by your peers and vote on which one you think are the best!
Tuesday, October 31st 6:30-7:30pm
Come and hear about life outside of academia! The Early Career Committee will be hosting three panelists for a discussion and brief Q&A with industry leaders who have successfully used their scientific and/or clinical skills to build careers in industry. All are welcome to join this free discussion moderated by Sylvia B. Rowe, President-SR Strategy, LLC. Following the Industry Panel all attendees will have a networking opportunity with the panelists at the industry reception!
Stay up-to-date on developments in the important field of obesity with TOS Basic Science Section
Keeping it basic: A review of the study, “Prenatal high-fat diet alters placental morphology, nutrient transporter expression, and mTORC1 signaling in rat”
Jennifer Teske, PhD, Assistant Professor-University of Arizona-Department of Nutritional Sciences
The intrauterine environment is critical for fetal development, and maternal diets high in fat contribute to negative metabolic phenotypes in offspring. The specific mechanisms are unclear but may be related to poor nutrient transport and sensing in the placenta.
A recent study published in the May 2017 issue of Obesity by Lin Song, Bo Sun, Gretha J. Boersma, Zachary A. Cordner, Jianqun Yan, Timothy H. Moran, and Kellie L.K. Tamashiro investigated whether the placental response to maternal high fat diet was specific to the sex of the offspring in Sprague-Dawley rats. Placental morphology, glucose and amino acid nutrient transporters, as well as regulators of the placental nutrient sensor mTORC1, were compared between male and female offspring from dams fed a 60% high fat diet or standard rodent chow during gestation. Maternal high fat diet reduced the thickness of the labyrinth within the placenta independent of sex, which is expected to reduce nutrient transfer. In the placenta from male offspring only, maternal high fat diet increased glucose transporter 3 (GLUT3) gene expression and both mRNA and protein levels of placental system A amino acid transporter 2 (SNAT2). This increase coincided with a reduction in the ratio of phosphorylated to total eukaryotic initiation factor 4E-binding protein 1(4EP1), which would activate mTORC1 signaling and likely explains the increase in SNAT2. In contrast, placentas for female offspring of high fat-fed dams had greater protein levels for upstream regulators of mTOR insulin-like growth factor two (IGF2) and its receptor relative to placentas for female offspring of chow-fed dams. Thus, sex of the offspring appears to modify the placenta’s ability to sense and transport nutrients within the intrauterine environment.
As trends go, obesity continues its climb to epidemic levels. Likewise, over the last five years the number of physicians certified in obesity medicine has increased tenfold. For clinicians who treat obese patients, getting certified in this specialty is a viable option.
Look around you, and it’s not hard to see how serious the problem of obesity has become in America. People here are now bigger, and suffering from more obesity-related diseases, than ever before — prompting cities across the country to desperately try to fight back with measures like soda taxes and calorie labels.
Travel beyond the U.S. borders, though, and you’ll see the same problem elsewhere: Obesity is now a growing phenomenon in just about every corner of the world, in poor and rich countries alike.
Children of obese women are more likely to be afflicted by major birth defects, including malformations of the heart and genitals, according to a study published recently.
The fatter the mother, the higher the risk, it found.
"We found that risks of major congenital malformations in offspring progressively increase with maternal overweight and severity of obesity," researchers wrote in The BMJ medical journal.
Medical News Today
Lack of physical activity is a risk factor for many serious conditions. The fact that neither adults nor teenagers get as much exercise as they should is, perhaps, not very surprising. But new research shows that the situation might be a lot more worrying than previously believed.
A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that more than 10 percent of the global population is now considered obese, a condition that, in some people, can contribute to serious health issues.
The study looked at 1,800 data sets from 195 countries and discovered that the rates of obesity doubled in 71 countries from 1980 to 2015, while it “continuously” increased in most of the others. Overall, 603.7 million adults were considered obese in 2015.
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