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First Short Course on Mathematical Sciences in Obesity Research

On-line Registration: Closed
Held On: Mon 5/12/2014 - Fri 5/16/2014
Location: Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Birmingham
808 South 20th Street
Birmingham, AL  35205
(205) 933-9000 phone; (205) 933-0920 fax
Organizing Committee:

David Allison, PhD
University of Alabama at Birmingham
  Kristi Crowe, PhD, RD, LD
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.

Schedule of Events: [PDF file]

Sample schedule of five day course. The four different sessions that comprise a module are identified by color codes (see right).
†Open problems represent unanswered questions in the field.
††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
Monday 5-12-2014
8:00 - 8:30 Diana Thomas, Montclair Registration  
8:30 - 9:00 Diana Thomas/ David Allison, Montclair/UAB Introductory Remarks video
9:00 - 9:45 Steven Heymsfield, PBRC Overview of state of the field of obesity and mathematical sciences video
10:00 - 10:30 Edward Sazonov, Alabama, Tuscaloosa Overview of career paths video
10:30 - 11:00 David Allison, UAB Overview of funding approach at NIH and other federal granting agencies video
11:30 - 12:00 Diana Thomas, Montclair Intro to project development approach video
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
Module 1: Outcomes in Obesity Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs)
1:00 - 1:45 David Allison, UAB Introduction to RCTs and their quantitative analysis video
1:45 - 2:45 Miguel Padilla, Old Dominion Missing data in randomized clinical trials for weight loss video
3:00 - 3:30 Mark Beasley, UAB Hands on demonstration: Software video
3:30 - 4:00 David Allison, UAB Open problems in Obesity Related RCTs  
4:00 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††  
Tuesday 5-13-2014
Module 2: Modeling weight change using energy balance
9:00 - 9:45 Kevin Hall, NIH Introduction to Energy Balance Models video
10:00 - 10:45 Diana Thomas, Montclair Energy Balance models for clinical interventions video
11:00 - 11:30 Corby Martin, PBRC Hands on demonstration: Models delivered using smart phone technology  
11:30 - 12:00 Kevin Hall, NIH Open problems video
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
Module 3: Modeling Obesity Prevalence
1:00 - 1:45 Hassan Fathallah-Shaykh, UAB Infectious disease model approach video
2:00 - 2:45 Marion Weedermann, Dominican Dynamic Obesity Prevalence video
3:00 - 3:30 John Dawson, UAB Propagation of Obesity Across Generations: Modeling Assortative Mating by Body Mass Index video
3:30 - 4:00 David Allison, UAB Open problems  
4:00 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††  
Wednesday 5-14-2014
Module 4: Modeling Obesity and Economics
9:00 - 9:45 Eric Finkelstein, Duke University Overview video
10:00 - 10:45 Ross Hammond, Brookings Institution Complex Systems Approaches to Obesity Etiology and Intervention  
11:00 - 11:30 Carolyn Salafia, Placental Analytics Mathematics of the Placenta video
11:30 - 12:00 Eric Finkelstein, Duke University Open problems  
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
Module 5: Modeling Pregnancy and Childhood Obesity
1:00 - 1:45 Nancy Butte, Baylor Overview of the state of the field video
2:00 - 2:45 Kevin Hall, NIH Energy Balance Model of Childhood Growth and Obesity video
3:00 - 3:30 Carol Graham, Brookings Institution How Well-Being Metrics Can Contribute to Understanding Obesity Norms and Variance video
3:30 - 4:00 Diana Thomas, Montclair State A Dynamic Model Predicting Gestational Weight Gain video
4:15 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††  
Thursday 5-15-2014
Module 6: Sensor Models in Obesity
9:00 - 9:45 Edward Sazonov, Alabama, Tuscaloosa Overview of Career Paths video
10:00 - 10:45 Nancy Butte, Baylor Predicting Energy Expenditure from Accelerometers video
11:00 - 11:30 Rob Brychta, NIH Hands on demonstration
Guided discovery project
11:30 - 12:00 Rob Brychta, NIH Open problems  
12:00 - 1:00 Lunch
Module 7: Applications of Imaging Models in Obesity
1:00 - 1:45 Timothy Nagy, UAB Overview of the field video
2:00 - 2:45 Dympna Gallagher, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Estimating organ size and metabolic rate from DXA and MRI video
3:00 - 3:30 Diana Thomas, Montclair State University 3D image rendering of placentas from obesity related pregnancy complications video
3:30 - 4:00 Brian Welch, Vanderbilt Open problems video
4:15 - 5:30 Moderated by Senior Researchers Roundtable Session††
Preparation for student presentations
Friday 5-16-2014
Module 8: Statistical Modeling in Genetics
9:00 - 9:45 Hemant Tiwari, UAB Genetic association analysis of 30 genes related to obesity in a European American population: Overview video
10:00 - 10:45 Gustavo de los Campos, UAB Prediction of expected years of life using whole-genome markers video
11:00 - 11:30 Liming Liang, Harvard University Effective adjustment of differential cell populations in epigenome-wide association studies  
11:30 - 12:00 Peter Kharchenko, Harvard University Computational methods for sequencing assays 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  


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.