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AHA Group
Top, from left: The UAB Strategically Focused Research Center team includes: Kirk Habegger, Ph.D.; Nefertiti Durant, M.D.; Tim Garvey, M.D.; David Allison, Ph.D.; Stella Aslibekyan, Ph.D.; Nengjun Yi, Ph.D.; Cora Elizabeth Lewis, M.D.; Paula Chandler-Laney, Ph.D.; Bertha Hidalgo, Ph.D.; Lorie Harper, M.D.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham will launch the UAB Strategically Focused Obesity Research Center with a grant from the American Heart Association for $3.7 million over the next four years. The UAB SFOC is one of four sites in the AHA’s Strategically Focused Obesity Research Network that will work together to advance the field of obesity research.

The UAB SFOC will address two major categories of questions: What metabolic abnormalities imprinted in the womb contribute to excess weight gain in offspring that continue into adulthood, and what are the underlying molecular and genetic causes?

“Obesity perpetuates itself from one generation to the next,” said Timothy Garvey, M.D., principal investigator of the SFOC, director of the UAB Diabetes Research Center and chair of the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences. “Mothers with obesity tend to give birth to children with obesity, which continues into adulthood, ready to begin the next generational cycle. While the causes of obesity are complex, events that occur in the womb are particularly powerful and program long-term regulation of body weight, as well as greater risk for diabetes and heart disease.”

Obesity both is a disease in its own right and predisposes to weight-related complications, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Prevalence rates for obesity have been increasing in the United States and worldwide, producing a heavy burden of patient suffering and social costs.

Read More at UAB News.

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