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Fourth Short Course on Mathematical Sciences in Obesity Research

Held On:    Mon 6/26/2017 - Fri 6/30/2017   
Location:     The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Executive Learning Center (ELC)
6th floor
1705 University Blvd, SPHB 640
Birmingham AL 35233   
Lodging Options:
(within walking distance)
    Residence Inn Birmingham
821 20th St S
Birmingham, AL 35205-2713
(205) 731-9595

Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Birmingham
808 South 20th Street
Birmingham, AL  35205
(205) 933-9000

Homewood Suites by Hilton Birmingham Downtown
1016 20th Street South
Birmingham, Alabama, 35205
(205) 703-9920; fax (205) 703-9921

Course Directors:   
David Allison, PhD
University of Alabama at Birmingham      THOMAS new
Diana Thomas, Ph.D.
Montclair State University     

  • Overview & Agenda
  • Speakers
  • Contact


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 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.

Schedule of Events: [ PDF file]

††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    video    
9:30 – 10:30    Steven Heymsfield, PBRC    Overview of state of the field of obesity and mathematical sciences    video    
10:30 - 11:30    David Allison, UAB    Overview of funding approach at NIH and other federal granting agencies    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    video    
3:00 - 4:00    Michael Oakes, U of Minnesota    Cluster Randomized Trials    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 PhD, USMA West Point    Application of Energy Balance Models    video    
10:00 - 10:45    Diana Thomas, Montclair    Introduction to Energy Balance Models    video    
11:00 - 11:30    Corby Martin, PBRC    Models delivered using smart phone technology    video    
11:30 - 12:45    Lunch   
Module 3: Modeling Effects in Populations   
1:00 - 1:45    Stephen Mennemeyer PhD, UAB    Using Simulation to Estimate Economic Effects: Examples from Cost-Effectiveness of Obesity Programs    video    
2:00 - 2:45    Shawn Bauldry PhD, Purdue    Instrumental Variable Approaches    video    
3:00 - 4:00    Bruce Lee MD, Johns Hopkins    Population Level Effects of Energy Balance Manipulations    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    video    
11:00 -11:45    Kayla de la Haye, USC    Informing obesity interventions using networks    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    video    
2:00 - 2:45    Rodney Sturdivant PhD, Azusa Pacific University    Structural Equation Modeling in Obesity    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 - 9:45    Edward Sazonov, Alabama, Tuscaloosa    Overview of the field    video    
9:45 - 10:30    Adam Hoover, Clemson University    Bite measurement methods and models    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, UAB    Overview of the field    video    
2:00-2:45    Dave Nelson, Univ S Alabama    Allometric Scaling & Whole-Animal Energy Balances    video    
3:00 - 4:00    Steven Heymsfield, PBRC    Open Problems    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 PhD, McMaster Univ    Obesity, a collateral damage of evolution    video    
9:40 - 10:00    Michael Sandel PhD, Univ West Alabama: Q&A     
10:00 - 10:40    Yann Klimentidis PhD, Univ of Arizona    Asking and answering evolutionary genetic questions about obesity    video    
10:40 - 11:00    Michael Sandel PhD, Univ West Alabama: Q&A     
11:00 - 11:40    Andrew Higginson PhD, Univ of Exeter    Evaluating the logic of evolutionary explanations for obesity    video    
11:40 - 12 pm    Michael Sandel PhD, Univ 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 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.

Contact Information:

Logistics: Richard Sarver
UAB SOPH Dean's office
Office of Energetics & Nutrition Obesity Research Center
1700 University Boulevard, LHL 434
Birmingham AL 35294-0013
Phone: (205) 975-9169

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

Funded by

NIH 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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