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UAB NORC 2013 "Creativity is a Decision" Award

July 24, 2013

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Nutrition & Obesity Research Center (NORC) Creativity is a Decision Awards were announced on July 24, 2013. This unique competition allows for submission of the most creative ideas for grant proposals in obesity-related research. The contest was open to Graduate Students, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Faculty & Staff members. The NORC had 25 applicants submit one-page proposals, and nine winners were selected.

The selected faculty award winners and their proposed projects are:

  • Diptiman Chanda, PhD - “Curing Childhood Obesity by in utero Stem Cell Transplantation”.
  • Gareth Dutton, PhD – “Alternating Caloric Goals during Treatment to Improve Long-Term Outcomes”.
  • Monika Safford, MD – “Sound Bites to Healthier Eating”.
  • Victor Darley-Usmar, PhD – “Assessing Obesity and Therapeutic Efficacy by Defining a Bioenergetic Health Index (BHI)”.
  • Thomas van Groen, PhD – “The influence of the gut microbiome on development and cognition”.

The selected postdoctoral award winners and their proposed projects are:

  • Tonia Schwartz, PhD – “Are populations evolutionarily adapted to fluctuations in their environment? Experiments using natural populations and fluorescently tagged lineages of Daphnia”.
  • Michael Sandel, PhD – “Genomic Determinants of Body Composition and Cellular Metabolism in Baikal Skulpins”.

The selected predoctoral award winners and their proposed projects are:

  • William Neumeier, MS – “Caloric Intake with Heuristics, Exercise, and Weight Stratification (CHEWS)”.
  • Sarah Katherine Sweatt, MS – “Does a eucaloric high fat, low carbohydrate diet improve metabolic outcomes and increase free-living physical activity?”

The graduate level prize is $1,000, $2,500 for postdoctoral fellows, and $5,000 for faculty and staff winners. In order to collect though, they must each submit their proposal to an extramural sponsoring authority (e.g., NIH, NSF, etc.) by November 5, 2013.

The NORC leadership developed the idea for this “outside-the-box” contest (see: This was the third time it was held, and the NORC hopes to continue sponsoring on an annual basis.