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UAB News

  • Fernández is inaugural winner of diversity award from the Obesity Society

    UAB’s Fernández honored for diversity leadership by the Obesity Society.

    José Fernández, Ph.D., professor and vice chair for Education in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at BirminghamSchool of Health Professions, has been named the inaugural winner of the Shiriki Kumanyida Diversity Leadership Award from the Obesity Society. The award recognizes an investigator whose research has made a significant difference in the field of obesity disparities.

    The prevalence of obesity has significantly increased among the population of the United States over the past 30 years, with nearly one-third of adults now considered obese. Obesity is a known risk factor for many diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Significant racial/ethnic disparities continue to exist in the occurrence of obesity.

    Fernández joined UAB in August 2001, bringing special expertise in the application of statistical models to detect and disentangle genetic and environmental influences in obesity-related traits. His main research interest is the identification of genes that contribute to racial differences in obesity and diabetes. He uses the genetic admixture approach as a tool to decompose the genetic, social and cultural components underlying racial and ethnic differences in complex traits.

    Fernández serves as a member of the editorial boards for the International Journal of Obesity and for Ethnicity and Disease. He has been the recipient of the UAB President’s Faculty Diversity Award, the UAB Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring, and the UAB School of Health Professions’ Joseph F Volker Outstanding Faculty Award.

    The award is named for Shiriki Kumanyika, Ph.D., professor emeritus of epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Kumanyika has an interdisciplinary background and holds advanced degrees in social work, nutrition and public health. Her research focuses on identifying effective strategies to reduce nutrition-related chronic disease risks, with a particular focus on achieving health equity for black Americans.

    In 2002, Kumanyika founded and continues to chair the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN), a national network that seeks to improve the quantity, quality and effective translation of research on weight issues in African-American communities. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and is president of the American Public Health Association for 2015.

    Fernández will receive the award in November at the Obesity Society Annual Meeting in Los Angeles.

  • Roberson wins prestigious Denny-Brown award from American Neurological Association

    UAB’s Roberson wins young investigator award from the American Neurological Association.

    Erik Roberson, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, is the winner of the 2015 Derek Denny-Brown Young Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association.

    The award, considered the ANA’s highest and most prestigious, recognizes early- to mid-career neurologists and neuroscientists who have made outstanding basic and clinical scientific advances toward the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of neurological diseases.

    Roberson’s primary research focus is Alzheimer’s disease, in particular the role of tau reduction in protection against memory loss. Roberson and his colleagues were also the first to show that tau plays a critical role in regulating neuronal excitability, which could have applications in the treatment of many neurological conditions with seizures. He has also contributed new insights into mechanisms and therapeutic approaches to frontotemporal dementia.

    Roberson graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and completed his M.D./Ph.D. training at Baylor College of Medicine. He was chief resident in neurology at the University of California at San Francisco. He joined the faculty at UAB in 2008 with appointments to the departments of Neurology and Neurobiology. He holds the Spencer Endowed Professorship in Neuroscience. He is a co-director of the UAB Center for Neurodegeneration and Experimental Therapeutics and has recently been appointed co-director of the McKnight Brain Institute at UAB.

    “Dr. Roberson is recognized nationally and internationally for his expertise in Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders,” said David Standaert, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the UAB Department of Neurology. “I think Dr. Roberson is one of the leading neuroscientists of his generation. He is exceptionally bright, very well trained and, most importantly, fully committed to his goals.”

  • UAB ranks in top 150 in list of world universities
    The Center for World University Rankings, based in Saudi Arabia, ranked schools based on eight indicators, including the recognition received by alumni and faculty.
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