2011 Seminar Series

February 1

Obesity Research Day 2011
The Minnesota Obesity Center sponsored a day long program of current research findings in eating disorders and obesity on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, held in the Johnson Great Room at the McNamara Alumni Center. The program featured the members of the External Scientific Advisory Committee for the Minnesota Obesity Center:

  • Timothy Bartness, PhD, Department of Biology, Georgia State University
    Bidirectional Crosstalk between Adipose Tissue and the Brain
  • Daniel H. Bessesen, MD, Denver Health Medical Center, University of Colorado
    Regulation of Body Weight: What is the Regulated Parameter?
  • Fredric B. Kraemer, MD, Division of Endocrinology, Gerontology & Metabolism, Stanford School of Medicine
    Interactions between Adipose and Bone
  • James E. Mitchell, MD, Neuropsychiatric Research Institute, Fargo, North Dakota
    Recent Research on Bariatric Surgery
  • Denise Wilfley, PhD, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine
    Childhood Obesity: A Multi-level Treatment Approach

The poster session featured presentations by recipients of Pilot & Feasibility awards:

  • Aaron S. Kelly, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, UMN
    GLP-1 Therapy in Extreme Pediatric Obesity
  • Do-Hyung Kim, PhD, Department of Biochemistry, UMN
    Roles of the ULK1-Atg13 Complex in Adipose Autophagy, Differentiation, and Metabolism
  • Douglas G. Mashek, PhD, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, UMN
    Effects of Central Administration of Distinct Fatty Acids on Hypothalamic Neuropeptide Expression and Energy Metabolism
  • Laura J. Mauro, PhD, Department of Animal Science, UMN
    Role of the Skeletal Hormone, Osteocalcin, in Adipocyte Differentiation and Function

March 3

Xiaoli Chen, M.D., PhD, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, UMN, presented a talk entitled "A Novel Role for Lipocalin 2 in Metabolic Homeostasis” at the Endocrine City-Wide Conference sponsored by the Division of Endocrinology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Chen is a Participating Investigator with the Minnesota Obesity Center.

March 24

Charles J. Billington, MD, presented a talk entitled "Obesity and the Brain: Update” at the Endocrine City-Wide Conference sponsored by the Division of Endocrinology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Billington is the Associate Director of the Minnesota Obesity Center.

April 5

The National Public Health Week Film Festival ran April 4-8, 2011. Mental health, food, social justice, health care, climate change, refugees, and HIV were the topics of this year’s annual festival, hosted by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. Free public screening of "Food Stamped" on April 5, 2011. The film follows Shira and Yoav Potash as they attempt to eat a well-balanced diet on food stamps. The couple consults with food justice activists, nutrition experts, politicians, and people living on food stamps to understand the challenge of putting three-square meals on the table each day with only $1 per meal. The Minnesota Obesity Center was a supporting sponsor of the Film Festival.

May 12

Saverio Cinti, MD, Professor of Human Anatomy, Department of Molecular Pathology and Innovative Therapies, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy, presented a talk as part of the Integrative Biology and Physiology (IBP) Stress Physiology Center seminar series entitled “The Adipose Organ Histopathology." Dr. Cinti visited with investigators from the Minnesota Obesity Center during his two-day visit to the University of Minnesota. This event was presented by the IBP Stress Physiology Center and was co-sponsored by the Minnesota Obesity Center.

May 19

Shalamar Sibley, MD, Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, UMN presented a talk entitled "Deeper Dissection: Further Discussion on the Link between Obesity and Low Vitamin D Status” at the Endocrine City-Wide Conference sponsored by the Division of Endocrinology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Sibley is a Participating Investigator with the Minnesota Obesity Center.

June 14

Luis de Lecea, PhD, Stanford University, presented “Optogenetic Control of Arousal” as part of the GRECC’s Seminar Series at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center. Dr. de Lecea’s main interest is the study of the neuronal circuitry underlying arousal and sleep. His program is based on the discovery of several neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of behavioral state transitions. These transmitters include the hypocretins, two neuropeptides with neuroexcitatory activity that play a key role in the maintenance of wakefulness. His talk focused on implementing millisecond scale optogenetic manipulation of genetically identified neurons in vivo in the study of sleep and wakefulness. This seminar was co-sponsored by the Minnesota Obesity Center.

October 5

James Ntambi, PhD, Department of Biochemistry and Nutritional Sciences, UW-Madison presented a seminar hosted by the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics. The title of his presentation was “The Role of Skin Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase-1 in Obesity and Diabetes.” This event was co-sponsored by the Minnesota Obesity Center.

October 10 & 11

The Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute, in collaboration with the MN Landscape Arboretum, held its third annual symposium on the topic "Optimizing Food Systems for Human Health." This symposium examined the health impacts of current food system practices, from production, through processing, food manufacturing, distribution and consumption. Critical points were identified in the food system where intervention can improve human health, exploring both ‘conventional’ and ‘sustainable’ food system approaches. The goal was to find common purpose, presenting research and best practice case studies that represent the innovative integration of human health research and food system decision-making. Speakers brought together knowledge and expertise from public health, medical science, environmental and natural resource sciences, production agriculture, business and public policy to provide a framework for coordinated, collaborative research and policy. Allen S. Levine, Director of the MN Obesity Center, gave the Introduction to the Symposium. The Keynote Address was The Global Nutrition Transition from Starvation to Obesity – What are We Doing Wrong and How Can We Change it? presented by Juan Rivera, PhD , Founding Director, Center for Research in Nutrition and Health, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico, and Professor of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Mexico. Other speakers included:

  • Kate Clancy, PhD, Senior Fellow, MN Institute for Sustainable Agriculture, Visiting Scholar, Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Where are the Critical points in the Food System for Improving Public Health?
  • Jordi Serrasota, PhD, European Food Safety Authority Liaison Officer to FDA, Food Safety Risk Assessment in the EU versus US
  • Hans Blonk, Founder Blonk Environmental Consultants, Netherlands, Natural Resource and Environmental Impacts of the Food System on Human Health

December 7

Richard P. Bazinet, PhD, Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, gave a talk as part of the Graduate Seminar Series presented by the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. His seminar was entitled “Regulating Brain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Levels: Uptake, Rapid Metabolism and Consequences.” This event was co-sponsored by the Minnesota Obesity Center.