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Online Registration: Closed

Held On: Mon 6/13/2016 - Fri 6/17/2016

Location: University of Alabama at Birmingham
UAB School of Public Health
1665 University Boulevard, fifth floor, Room RPHB 507
Birmingham AL 35233

Lodging Options:
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Birmingham
808 South 20th Street
Birmingham, AL 35205
Phone: (205) 933-9000
Fax: (205) 933-0920

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 6/13/2016
    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, U of Minnesota Cluster Randomized Trials Watch Video
    4:00 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††  
    Day 2 - Tuesday 6/14/2016
    Module 2: Modeling weight change using energy balance
    9:00 - 9:45 Diana Thomas, Montclair Introduction to Energy Balance Models Watch Video
    10:00 - 10:45 Ashwin Vaidya, Montclair Applications of Energy Balance and Thermodynamic Approaches 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 Bisakha Sen, Ph.D., UAB Instrumental Variable Approaches: Potential Applications in Obesity Watch Video
    3:00 - 4:00 Susan Chen, Ph.D., University of Alabama Population-Level Effects of Energy Balance Manipulations Watch Video
    4:00 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††  
    Day 3 - Wednesday 6/15/2016
    Module 4: Modeling Pharmacological Interventions
    9:00 - 9:45 Clay Thompson, Pfizer Perspectives on a Quantitative Systems Pharmacology Approach to Support Obesity Drug Discovery and Development  
    10:00 - 10:45 Mirjam Trame, UFL Modeling energy deficits in pharmacological interventions  
    11:00 - 11:45 Tawanda Gumbo Open problems  
    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 Douglas Gunzler, MetroHealth 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 6/16/2016
    Module 6: Sensor and Engineering Models in Obesity
    9:00 - 9:30 Edward Sazonov, Alabama, Tuscaloosa Sensor Models in Obesity Research Watch Video
    9:30 - 10:30 Adam Hoover, Clemson University Bite measurement methods and models  
    10:30 - 11:30 Ken McLeod, Binghamton Regulating RMR to Maintain Heat Balance and Body Mass Watch Video
    11:30 - 12:45 Lunch
    Module 7: Scaling Laws and Obesity
    1:00-1:45 Courtney Peterson, PBRC Overview of Scaling Watch Video
    2:00-2:45 David Nelson, Univ S 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 6/17/2016
    Module 8: Statistical Modeling in Genetics
    9:00 - 9:45 Hemant Tiwari, UAB Genetic Models in Obesity: Classic & Modern Watch Video
    9:45 - 10:45 Nengjun Yi, UAB Bayesian Hierarchical Models - Application to Genomics and Epidemiology Watch Video
    11:00 - 12:00 Xiangqin Cui, UAB Methods and Concepts of Multiple Testing in High-Dimensional Research Watch Video
    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 min. 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 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 round-table 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
    • Susan Chen, Ph.D. - University of Alabama
    • Tawanda Gumbo, Ph.D. - Baylor Scott & White Health
    • Douglas Gunzler Ph.D. - MetroHealth
    • Steven B Heymsfield, MD - PBRC
    • Adam Hoover, Ph.D. - Clemson University
    • Corby K Martin, Ph.D. - PBRC
    • Ken McLeod, Ph.D. - Binghamton
    • Dave Nelson, Ph.D. - Univ S Alabama
    • Michael Oakes, Ph.D. - University of Minnesota
    • Courtney Peterson, Ph.D.- PBRC
    • Gregory Price, Ph.D. - Morehouse
    • Edward Sazonov, Ph.D. - Alabama, Tuscaloosa
    • Diana Thomas Ph.D. - Montclair State University
    • Graham Thomas, Ph.D. - Brown University
    • Clay Thompson, Ph.D. - Pfizer
    • Mirjam Trame, Ph.D. - UFL
    • Ashuwin Vaidya, Ph.D. - Montclair
    • Inmaculada (ChiChi) Aban, Ph.D. - UAB
    • David B. Allison, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Andrew Brown, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Xiangqin Cui, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Paula-Chandler Laney, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Peng Li, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Stephen T Mennemeyer, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Bisakha Sen(Pia), Ph.D. - UAB
    • Hemant Tiwari, Ph.D. - UAB
    • Nengjun Yi, 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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