2014 Award and Grant Recipients

2014 George A. Bray Founders Award – Gary Foster, PhD

Gary Foster, PhD, is the Chief Science Officer at Weight Watchers International, Inc. He has authored or coauthored more than 160 scientific publications and three books on the etiology and treatment of obesity. Dr. Foster's research interests include the prevention, behavioral determinants, treatments, and effects of obesity in adults and children. Dr. Foster's recent research topics include the effects of weight loss on diabetes and sleep, and the prevention of obesity in school and community settings.

Gary Foster for OWProgramBook


2014 Mickey Stunkard Lifetime Achievement Award – Richard Atkinson, MD

Richard Atkinson, MD, is an Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has spent more than 30 years in the field of obesity. Following a combined Pediatric/Adult Fellowship in Endocrine/Metabolism with George Bray at Harbor General Hospital, he served on the faculty of several medical schools performing obesity research and directing an obesity treatment program at each school. In recent years, the discovery that the human adenovirus-36 causes obesity in animals and is associated with obesity in humans has become the primary focus of his research.



2014 Atkinson-Stern Award for Distinguished Public Service – Martin Binks, PhD

Martin Binks Ph.D. is Associate Professor, Nutritional Sciences, at Texas Tech University and leads the Behavioral Medicine & Translational Research Lab. He is a clinical psychologist specializing in behavioral medicine and obesity research. Dr. Binks is an outspoken public advocate for obesity research and access to treatment. Research includes behavioral, pharmacologic and surgical obesity treatment; barriers to treatment adherence (nutrition & exercise); obesity and comorbidities (NAFLD, pain, sleep), Sickle Cell Disease, mHealth & health disparities; and neuroscience of obesity. More information about Dr. Binks can be found here.



2014 TOPS Research Achievement Award – Michael Goran, PhD

Michael Goran, PhD, is a Professor of Preventive Medicine and Pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. His work is focused on understanding the metabolic factors linking obesity to increased disease risk during growth and development and using this information as a basis for developing new strategies for prevention and risk reduction.

Goran Photo - TOPS Award


2014 Lilly Scientific Achievement Award – Rachel Batterham, MD, PhD

Rachel Batterham, MD, PhD, is the Head of the Centre for Obesity Research, Department of Medicine, University College London (UCL) and Head of the Centre for Weight Loss, Metabolic & Endocrine Surgery at University College London Hospital (UCLH). Her laboratory's research is centered on increasing our understanding of how body weight is regulated and developing new therapies for the treatment of patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes.



 2014 Ethan Sims Young Investigator Award Finalists

Ruth Brown, MSc, PhD Candidate
York University
Ontario, Canada
Title: The Association Between Calorie Intake, Macronutrient Intake, and Physical Activity with Obesity Over Time
Mentor: Jennifer Kuk, PhD

Ruth Brown

Elizabeth Frost, PhD Candidate
Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Baton Rouge, LA
Title: Effect of Dietary Protein Intake on Diet-Induced thermogenesis During Overfeeding
Mentor: Leanne Redman, PhD, FTOS


Ceren Ozek, PhD Candidate
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
Title: PTP1B is a Novel Physiological Regulator of BDNF/TrkB Signaling in the Brain
Mentor: Kendra Bence, PhD; University of Pennsylvania

2014 Ethan Sims Award Winner!

Ceren Ozek

Hayley Syrad, PhD Candidate
University College London
London, England
Title: Meal Size and Meal Frequency in Pediatric Overweight
Mentors: Jane Wardle, PhD;  and Clare Llewellyn


Kristin Young, MD
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC
Influence of Gene-By-Smoking Interaction on Obesity-Related Traits: The GIANT (Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits) Consortium
Mentor: Penny Gordon-Larsen, PhD, FTOS; Dr. Kari North, PhD

Kristin Young

2014 Early-Career Research Grant Recipients

Courtney Peterson, PhD
Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Baton Rouge, LA
Title: "Does Meal Timing Impact Energy Expenditure"
Mentor: Eric Ravussin, PhD

Courtney Peterson, PhD, is currently an Assistant Professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, working in the Skeletal Muscle Physiology Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Eric Ravussin. Dr. Peterson's research interests center on dietary interventions for the treatment of obesity and diabetes, particularly in the areas of intermittent fasting, circadian rhythms, and botanicals.




Christina Roberto, PhD
Harvard School of Public Health
Boston, MA
Title: "Evaluating a Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Portion Cap Policy"
Co-Investigators: Jason Block, MD; Leslie John, PhD; Brian Elbel, PhD

Christina Roberto, PhD, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar and an Assistant Professor of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is a psychologist and epidemiologist whose research aims to identify, understand, and alter the environmental and social forces that promote unhealthy eating behaviors linked to obesity and eating disorders.


2014 Weight Watchers Karen Miller-Kovach Research Grant

Evan Forman, PhD
Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA
Title: A Companion Smartphone App to Enhance Dietary Adherence through Predictive Machine Learning

Evan Forman, PhD, is a director of professor of psychology, graduate studies and co-director of the Laboratory for Innovations in Health-Related Behavior Change at Drexel University. Currently he serves as principle investigator of Mind Your Health, an NIH-funded randomized controlled trial comparing gold standard behavioral intervention to an acceptance-based behavior intervention for obesity; principle investigator of TakeControl, a smartphone-based system for treating binge eating disorder; and co-investigator of three NIH-funded trials comparing alternate forms of cognitive-behavioral interventions for obesity. Dr. Forman is the chair of the Committee on Science and Practice for APA Division 12 (Society for Clinical Psychology).

 Evan Forman

2014 Egg Nutrition Center Research Grant Recipient

Dexi Liu, PhD
University of Georgia
Athens, GA
Title: “Reversing Obesity-related Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease by Protein-enriched Diet”

Dr. Dexi Liu has been chosen by The Obesity Society’s Scientific Review Committee (SRC) as the recipient of the 2014 Egg Nutrition Center Research Grant. The grant is awarded to one applicant in the amount of $40,000 for a one-year study.  Dr. Liu, who serves as the Head of the Department Of Pharmaceutical And Biomedical Science at the University of Georgia, will be recognized for his proposed study entitled “Reversing Obesity-related Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease by Protein-enriched Diet” during the Opening Session at ObesityWeek on Monday, November 3, 2014 in Boston, MA. Dr. Liu’s laboratory is interested in the use of gene/protein as a drug for prevention and treatment of obesity, diabetes, cancer and other diseases. Our emphasis is on identification of genes that code for a therapeutic protein and on illustration of its mechanisms of action. We employ gene cloning, biochemical, cell biological, immunological, and gene delivery/transfer techniques to conduct basic research in cell culture and in animal models.

 Dexi Lui lowrescrop
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