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Students/Faculty News Kevin Storr March 17, 2021

Drew Sayer, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences, has been named the inaugural Ronald L. and David B. Allison Endowed Scholar. This award was established to provide support for junior faculty within the department who do not yet have RO1 funding from the National Institutes of Health.

The scholarship was created with the help of David B. Allison, Ph.D., dean of the School of Public Health at Indiana University Bloomington. From 2003 – 2017, Allison served as director of the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC).

"My father was an educator all his life. He loved learning, teaching, and saw the beauty of mathematics and its power to help elucidate every corner of thinking in life. In my own career, education, science, data, evidence - all processed and viewed through the lens of quantitative science - have been and continue to be my touchstones for the pursuit and unvarnished communication of truth," said Allison. "I am thrilled, humbled, and deeply honored to have UAB name this scholar program for my father and me. I am equally proud and as my father would have said ‘kvelling’ to see that Drew Sayer has been appointed the first Allison scholar. I can think of no one more deserving. My father would to be proud to have his name affiliated with so fine an up-and-coming scholar as Dr. Sayer."

“Dr. Allison is a global leader in obesity research and during his time at UAB, he made a major contribution to the success of nutrition and obesity research here,” said James O. Hill, Ph.D., chair of the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences and director of the UAB NORC. “We are very appreciate of David’s help in creating this scholarship and we are honored to have a scholarship in the name of him and his father.”

“Dr. Allison’s legacy at UAB and his continued influence on the field of nutrition and obesity research are immeasurable. I’m humbled and honored to receive this award bearing his name, and I will strive to conduct my research in a manner befitting of this recognition,” said Sayer, who is also an associate scientist with the UAB NORC. “This scholarship will enable me to continue developing my independent research program that is focused on creating personalized and adaptive obesity treatment strategies for rapid translation into clinical practice.”

For the year 2019-2020, Sayer was a NORC Named New Investigator for his work “Effects of Dietary Protein Intake and Resistance Training on Retention of Fat-Free Mass during Weight Loss in Postmenopausal Women with Obesity.” His long-term career goal is to become an independent T3/T4 translational scientist studying the factors that contribute to the variability in behavioral weight loss interventions in order to develop effective interventions to increase physical activity, improve diet, and treat obesity in pragmatic clinical and community settings.

The Allison scholarship funds are to be used for research related activity, presentations, publications, and/or professional development opportunities including travel to conferences.

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