Tapan MehtaTapan Mehta. Ph.D., NORC's Named New InvestigatorTapan Mehta, Ph.D., assistant professor of biostatistics in the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Physical Therapy, has been selected as the 2014 Named New Investigator for the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC). Each year since 2001, the center leadership selects among the Funded Pilot / Feasibility recipients and then receives approval from the UAB NORC External Advisory Committee prior to making the formal appointment.

Mehta joined the UAB School of Health Professions faculty in 2013 after transferring from his graduate program in Biostatistics at the UAB School of Public Health. According to Mehta's webpage, his research program is focused on aggregating and integrating silos of genomic, epidemiological, and administrative data, to investigate interesting scientific questions, through novel applications of statistical methods, and computing platforms. He is especially interested in pursuing scientific inquiry in topics related to obesity, longevity, disability, and health policy and interventions.

Over the next year, Mehta will work on a pilot program titled "Have the Advances in Cardiometabolic Treatments Attenuated the Obesity-Mortality Association?” The study aims to estimate the change in obesity-associated years of life lost (YLL) as a function of treating obesity-related co-morbidities with the following classes of medications: a) statins; b) antihypertensives; c) anti-diabetics.

The Named New Investigator distinction was created in 2001 when the UAB NORC received its designation as a National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Center. The first person to earn the honor was Barbara Gower, PhD, Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Nutrition Sciences.