The OHDRC Pilot Feasibility Studies supports early stage investigators interested in obesity-related health disparities research by providing mentoring and funding for innovative one-year pilot proposals. This program elevates the quality of pilot research by sponsoring a competition for funds that is peer-reviewed and mirrors those conducted by the NIH. Up to three (3) pilot projects will be funded each year and up to $50,000 will be awarded per project. NIH-defined New and Early Stage Investigators at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who have promising concepts for obesity health disparities research are eligible to apply.

Funded Projects:


ASalas             Principal Investigator:
Ariel Salas, MD, MSPH, Assistant Professor

UAB Department of Pediatrics
"Serial Assessments of Body Fat Accrual in Very Preterm Infants" 
Andrew Smith            Principal Investigator:
Andrew D. Smith, MD, PhD, Associate Professor

UAB Department of Radiology
"Liver Surface Nodularity Score as a Non-invasive Biomarker for NAFLD" 
Zechen pic               Principal Investigator:
Zechen Chong, PhD, Assistant Professor

UAB Informatics Institute
"The Genomic Landscape of Obese Cancer Patients in Minority Groups" 
Tiffany Carson                      Principal Investigator:
Tiffany Carson, PhD, Assistant Professor

UAB Preventive Medicine
"Modifying Diet and the Gut Microbiota to Reduce Obesity and Health Disparities"


Pankaj Arora MD                                            
Principal Investigator:

Pankaj Arora, MD, PAHA, Assistant Professor

UAB Division of Cardiovascular Disease
"The Effects of Natriuretic Peptide (NP) augmentation on cardiometabolic health in African Americans with obesity"
Laura Dreer                    Principal Investigator:
Laura E. Dreer, PhD, Associate Professor

UAB Department of Ophthalmology and VIsual Sciences
"Addressing the Obesity Health DIsparity Among Adults with Vision Impairments"
PBowen                   Principal Investigator:
Pamela G. Bowen, PhD, Assistant Professor

UAB School of Nursing
"TOSS Feasibility + Fitbit Community = Reduced Obesity in Older Black Women"


Screen Shot 2021 09 09 at 3.03.18 PM                          Principal Investigator:
Edwin Aroke, PhD, CRNA, Assistant Professor

UAB School of Nursing
"Using an Epigenomic Approach to Explore the Obesity-Pain Link among African Americans"
Screen Shot 2021 09 09 at 3.03.05 PM         Principal Investigator:
Fokhrul Hossain, PhD, Instructor-Research

LSUHSC, School of Medicine
"Obesity and Triple Negative Breast Cancer Disparities in Louisiana"
howell                          Principal Investigator:
Carrie Howell, PhD, Instructor
UAB, Division of Preventive Medicine
“Impact of Social Determinants of Health on Insulin Resistance and poor COVID-19 Outcomes”
Screen Shot 2021 09 09 at 3.02.52 PM                            Principal Investigator:
Joseph Wolfe, PhD, Associate Professor
UAB, Sociology
"Who's Hurt Most by Economic Shocks? Obesity and Health After Major Financial Loss"
Laura Dreer             Principal Investigator:
Ammar Saadoon Alishlash, MD, FAAP, FRCPCH, Assistant Professor
UAB, Department of Pediatrics
"Obesity Exacerbates Pulmonary Complications in Children with Sickle Cell Disease"
Screen Shot 2021 09 09 at 1.42.00 PM              Principal Investigator:
Christy Foster, MD, Assistant Professor
UAB, Department of Pediatrics
"Epigenetic Age in African American Adolescents with Obesity"