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Online Registration: Closed

Held On: Mon 6/26/2017 - Fri 6/30/2017

University of Alabama at Birmingham
Executive Learning Center (ELC), 6th floor
1705 University Blvd, SPHB 640
Birmingham AL 35233

Lodging Options:
Residence Inn Birmingham
821 20th Street South
Birmingham, AL 35205
Phone: (205) 731-9595

Organizing Committee:

David A.David Allison, Ph.D.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Diana T.Diana Thomas, Ph.D.
Montclair State University


The mathematical sciences including engineering, statistics, computer science, physics, econometrics, psychometrics, epidemiology, and mathematics qua mathematics are increasingly being applied to advance our understanding of the causes, consequences, and alleviation of obesity.

These applications do not merely involve routine well-established approaches easily implemented in widely available commercial software. Rather, they increasingly involve computationally demanding tasks, use and in some cases the development of novel analytic methods and software, new derivations, computer simulations, and unprecedented interdigitation of two or more existing techniques.

Such advances at the interface of the mathematical sciences and obesity research require bilateral training and exposure for investigators in both disciplines. This course on the mathematical sciences in obesity research features some of the world’s finest scientists working in this domain to fill this unmet need by providing nine topic-driven modules designed to bridge the disciplines.

The goal of our proposed short course is to:

  1. expose researchers from the mathematical sciences and obesity to the language and methodology at the interface of both disciplines
  2. facilitate collaborations between the two groups through effective contact and
  3. to guide early investigators interested in conducting research at the interface of the mathematical sciences in obesity on the next career step.

  • Agenda

    Schedule of Events: Download PDF

    ††Roundtable session will be used to develop projects through activities such as preparing and abstract or specific aims page Module identification color codes
    Introduction to math method
    Application of method to obesity
    Hands-on interactive session
    Open problems †
    Time Speaker Topic Video
    Day 1 - Monday 6/26/2017
    8:00 - 8:30 Diana Thomas, Montclair Registration  
    8:30 - 9:30 David Allison & Andrew Brown, UAB Introductory remarks: A Comedy of Errors Watch Video
    9:30 – 10:30 Steven Heymsfield, PBRC Overview of the state of the field of obesity and mathematical sciences Watch Video
    10:30 - 11:30 David Allison, UAB Overview of funding approach at NIH and other federal granting agencies Watch Video
    11:30 - 12:45 Lunch
    Module 1: Outcomes in Obesity Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
    1:00 - 1:45 Inmaculada (ChiChi) Aban, UAB Introduction to RCTs and their quantitative analysis  
    2:00 - 2:45 Peng Li, UAB Missing data in randomized clinical trials Watch Video
    3:00 - 4:00 Michael Oakes, University of Minnesota Cluster Randomized Trials Watch Video
    4:00 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††  
    Day 2 - Tuesday 6/27/2017
    Module 2: Modeling weight change using energy balance
    9:00 - 9:45 Corey Gerving Ph.D., USMA West Point Application of Energy Balance Models Watch Video
    10:00 - 10:45 Diana Thomas, Montclair Introduction to Energy Balance Models Watch Video
    11:00 - 11:30 Corby Martin, PBRC Models delivered using smartphone technology Watch Video
    11:30 - 12:45 Lunch
    Module 3: Modeling Effects in Populations
    1:00 - 1:45 Stephen T Mennemeyer Ph.D., UAB Using Simulation to Estimate Economic Effects: Examples from Cost-Effectiveness of Obesity Programs Watch Video
    2:00 - 2:45 Shawn Bauldry Ph.D., Purdue Instrumental Variable Approaches Watch Video
    3:00 - 4:00 Bruce Lee MD, Johns Hopkins Population-Level Effects of Energy Balance Manipulations Watch Video
    4:00 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††  
    Day 3 - Wednesday 6/28/2017
    Module 4: Modeling Obesity Interventions Through Networks
    9:00 - 9:45 James Hill, UC Denver Open problems  
    10:00 - 10:45 Ryan Miller, USMA Introduction to Networks to Identify sub-Communities Watch Video
    11:00 - 11:45 Kayla de la Haye, USC Informing obesity interventions using networks Watch Video
    12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
    Module 5: Modeling Behavioral Responses in Obesity
    1:00 - 1:45 Graham Thomas, Brown University Application of Models to Monitor Adherence Watch Video
    2:00 - 2:45 Rodney Sturdivant Ph.D., Azusa Pacific University Structural Equation Modeling in Obesity Watch Video
    2:45 - 3:45 Paula-Chandler Laney, UAB Open Problems  
    4:00 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††  
    Day 4 - Thursday 6/29/2017
    Module 6: Sensor and Engineering Models in Obesity
    9:00 - 9:30 Edward Sazonov, Alabama, Tuscaloosa Overview of the field Watch Video
    9:30 - 10:30 Adam Hoover, Clemson University Bite measurement methods and models Watch Video
    10:30 - 11:30 Ken McLeod, Binghamton Regulating RMR to Maintain Heat Balance and Body Mass  
    11:30 - 12:45 Lunch
    Module 7: Scaling Laws and Obesity
    1:00-1:45 Courtney Peterson, PBRC Overview of the field Watch Video
    2:00-2:45 David Nelson, University of South Alabama Allometric Scaling & Whole-Animal Energy Balances Watch Video
    3:00 - 4:00 Steven Heymsfield, PBRC Open problems Watch Video
    4:15 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††
    Preparation for student presentations
    Day 5 - Friday 6/30/2017
    Module 8: Statistical Modeling in Genetics
    9:00 - 9:40 David Meyre Ph.D., McMaster University Obesity, the collateral damage of evolution Watch Video
    9:40 - 10:00 Michael Sandel Ph.D., University of West Alabama: Q&A  
    10:00 - 10:40 Yann Klimentidis Ph.D., Univ of Arizona Asking and answering evolutionary genetic questions about obesity Watch Video
    10:40 - 11:00 Michael Sandel Ph.D., University of West Alabama: Q&A  
    11:00 - 11:40 Andrew Higginson Ph.D., University of Exeter Evaluating the logic of evolutionary explanations for obesity Watch Video
    11:40 - 12:00 Michael Sandel Ph.D., University of West Alabama: Q&A  
    12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
    1:00 - 1:45 Student Presentations  
    2:00 - 2:45  
    3:00 - 3:30  
    3:30 - 4:00  
    4:15 - 5:30  

    At the end of each day of the five-day short course, we will ask participants to gather in small groups led by a senior researcher from our pool of lecturers for a period of 90 minutes.

    Groups will be developed based on individual participant goals. For example, some participants may feel comfortable developing a specific aims page for an NIH K25, R03, K01, R01 or joint NSF/NIGMS Biological and Mathematical Sciences program. Others may want to collaborate across disciplines and set a second small group meeting through NIMBioS.

    We will provide a list of suggested activities while remaining open and flexible to the participant's needs.

    These options, and what they will entail, will be described on the first day of the short course by either the PI or co-PI. Some participants may decide to switch which roundtable they are working with on the second or third day. On the fourth day, a moderator-directed self-selected group of 10 participants will be chosen to present their work on the afternoon of the last day.

  • Speakers
    • Shawn Bauldry Ph.D. - Purdue University
    • Tawanda Gumbo, Ph.D. - Baylor Scott & White Health
    • Corey Gerving Ph.D. - USMA West Point
    • Kayla de la Haye, Ph.D. - University of Southern California
    • Steven B Heymsfield, MD - PBRC
    • Andrew Higginson, Ph.D. - Univ of Exeter
    • James Hill, Ph.D. - University of Colorado
    • Adam Hoover, Ph.D. - Clemson University
    • Yann Klimentidis, Ph.D. - University of Arizona
    • Bruce Lee MD - Johns Hopkins
    • Corby K Martin, Ph.D. - PBRC
    • Ken McLeod, Ph.D. - Binghamton
    • David Meyre, Ph.D. - McMaster University
    • Ryan Miller - USMA West Point
    • Dave Nelson, Ph.D. - Univ S Alabama
    • Michael Oakes, Ph.D. - U of Minnesota
    • Michael W Sandel, Ph.D. - University of West Alabama
    • Edward Sazonov, Ph.D. - Alabama, Tuscaloosa
    • Rodney Sturdivant, Ph.D. - Azusa Pacific University
    • Diana Thomas Ph.D. - Montclair State University
    • Graham Thomas, Ph.D. - Brown University
    • Inmaculada (ChiChi) Aban, Ph.D. - UAB
    • David B. Allison, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Andrew Brown, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Paula-Chandler Laney, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Peng Li, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Courtney Peterson, Ph.D. - UAB
  • Contact

    Elizabeth W. Smith, MPA, RDN, LDN

    Program Manager II
    Chief Administrative Officer
    UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center
    Phone: (205) 975-9675
    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


We would like to thank our sponsors for their support: National Institutes of Health & Office of Energetics.

Funded By:

NIH LogoNIH Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the National Institutes of Health under Grant No. (R25DK099080-01). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Institutes of Health.

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