You are here


NORC and DNS scientists take top honors at 2015 Graduate Student Research Day competition

March 27, 2015

Researchers from UAB’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center and Department of Nutrition Sciences distinguished themselves at the recent annual Graduate Student Research Day competition. Abstracts were scored on clarity, the significance of the research, and the scientific approach to the problem.

Session Two

1ST Place - Camille Schneider, RD; Nutrition Obesity Research Center and Department of Nutrition Sciences

Title: “Associations of BMI, Gestational Weight Gain, & Breastfeeding with Postpartum Weight Change” (co-authors Britney Blackstock; Joseph R. Biggio, MD; Paula C. Chandler-Laney, PhD): Study objective was to examine whether early pregnancy BMI, gestational weight gain, and breastfeeding are associated with postpartum (PP) weight change in a cohort of African American women. Results suggest that inadequate gestational weight gain and no breastfeeding at 2-weeks PP are associated with PP weight gain.


Session Eight

2nd Place - Molly Bernhard Richardson, MPH; Nutrition Obesity Research Center and Department of Environmental Health Sciences

Title: “Influence of Thermal Exposure on Food Intake in a Sedentary Office Setting” (co-authors Peng Li, PhD; David B. Allison, PhD; Julia M. Gohlke, PhD): Theorizes exposure to temperatures above the thermoneutral zone decreases food intake in young adults in sedentary office environment over a 2-hour period. Pilot study suggests acute food intake may be reduced in warmer environments and informs study design issues that will be helpful in implementation of larger studies designed to test the effectiveness of altering ambient temperatures to affect food intake.


Session Nine

2nd Place - Emily Falk Libby, MSPH; Department of Nutrition Sciences

Title: “Autophagy Contributes to Globular Adiponectin-Induced Enhancement of Breast Cancer Cell Invasion” (co-authors Jianzhong Liu; Yi Li; Monica J. Lewis; Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD; Douglas R. Hurst, PhD): This work investigates the regulatory role of adiponectin in the breast tumor microenvironment. Specifically, it focuses on how adiponectin isoforms act directly on invasive breast tumor cells to alter autophagy and thus influence their ability to progress through the early steps of metastasis.


Session Ten

1st Place - Daniella Chusyd, MA; Nutrition Obesity Research Center and Department of Nutrition Sciences

Title: “Body Composition and Associated Metabolic Profile of Zoo-Maintained Female African Elephants” (co-collaborators Tim R. Nagy, PhD; Janine Brown, PhD; Kari Morfeld, PhD; John Speakman, PhD; David B. Allison, PhD; Mark Bolding, PhD; Olivia Affuso, PhD): Some female African elephants in zoos exhibit abnormal reproductive cycles, and it is still unclear as to why. Other species have shown an association between body composition and fecundity. The team’s aim is to examine the potential association of body composition (i.e., fat and lean mass) and its related metabolic profile on ovarian cycling status in zoo-maintained female African elephants. 


2nd Place - Rachel Brewer; Nutrition Obesity Research Center and Graduate Biomedical Sciences

Title: “The Alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitor Acarbose as a Caloric-Restriction Mimetic” (co-authors Nathan D. Miyasaki; Victoria K. Gibbs, PhD; Daniel L. Smith, Jr., PhD): The goal is to better understand the role nutrients may play in the aging process, which would allow recommendations to be made that could help people to live healthier for longer. This project explores the mechanisms by which a compound that interferes with carbohydrate breakdown in the gut is also able to extend lifespan in mice.


Session Eleven

1st Place - William Neumeier, MA; Nutrition Obesity Research Center and Department of Psychology

Title: “An Interval Exercise Bout Following Cognitive Fatigue Blunts the Effects of Overeating” (co-authors Emily Gaddy; Fred Biasini, PhD; Emily Dhurandhar, PhD; Kristi S. Menear, PhD; Bulent Turan, PhD; Gary R. Hunter, PhD): Assesses if exercise following mental fatigue results in negative energy balance compared with non-exercise conditions. Participants were randomly assigned to a mental fatigue or mental fatigue + exercise condition; all also completed a rest visit. Order visit was counterbalanced, and each visit ended with an ad libitum lunch. Those completing the exercise condition consumed fewer calories than those completing the fatigue condition.  


2nd Place - Lee Anne Flagg, MA; Nutrition Obesity Research Center and Department of Sociology

Title: “Exercise Adherence among Pregnant Women: The Roles of SES, Attitudes, and Social Support” (co-author Elizabeth H. Baker, PhD): Pregnant women were surveyed to assess their exercise levels, exercise attitudes, social support for exercise, and demographics. Results from the preliminary analyses (n=27) suggest that exercise interventions may benefit by targeting pregnant women’s attitudes toward exercise to increase adherence, particularly among those with low incomes, and by including family members.