Iowa Alumni Magazine | December 2014 | Digital

Initiative Interests

By Kathryn Howe

The UI's Obesity Research and Education Initiative (OREI) combines existing faculty expertise with new recruits to deliver a multidisciplinary approach to the U.S. obesity problem.

Faculty in multiple colleges focus on two broad areas of research: behavioral/community-based and basic/translational biomedical research. Many of these faculty hold major grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Heart Association, and the American Diabetes Association. Additionally, through OREI-sponsored educational talks and programs, they share their findings with each other and the wider community.

So far, 15 new faculty representing 10 departments and five colleges have joined the initiative.

In the Carver College of Medicine:

E. Dale Abel, internal medicine professor and director of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles Diabetes Research Center, researches heart function in obesity and diabetes;

Michael L. Lutter, assistant professor of psychiatry, investigates the neural basis for feeding and disordered eating;

Lyse A. Norian, assistant professor of urology, studies tumorinduced immune dysfunction in obesity;

Matthew J. Potthoff, assistant pharmacology professor, focuses on hormone action in fasting and refeeding;

Brandon Davies, assistant professor of biochemistry, examines the role of endothelial cells and lipid metabolism;

Justin L. Grobe, assistant pharmacology professor, researches resting metabolic rate and obesity;

Julien Sebag, assistant professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, investigates neuropeptide function in obesity and drug development;

Eric Taylor, assistant biochemistry professor, conducts research into the regulation of mitochondrial function in obesity; and

Chad Grueter, assistant internal medicine professor, examines the heart as a driver of systemic energy homeostasis.

In other colleges:

Barbara Baquero, assistant professor of community and behavioral health in the College of Public Health, looks at food choices in the community;

Lucas Carr, assistant professor of health and human physiology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, explores ways to use technology to increase physical activity;

David Frisvold, assistant economics professor in the Tippie College of Business, pursues the business and public policy of obesity prevention;

Amy Sindler, assistant professor of health and human physiology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, investigates vascular function in aging, obesity, and diabetes;

Ruth Grossman, 01MS, 07MHP, assistant professor in the College of Nursing, researches nutritional metabolomics of obesity and its treatment; and

Vitor Lira, assistant professor of health and human physiology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, focuses on skeletal muscle function and autophagy in health and obesity.