Bio-Behavioral Research

The purpose of The Obesity Society's Bio-Behavioral Research Section is to support and encourage research on the complex interactions between biological, behavioral, and environmental factors that influence obesity, and to advocate for an approach to research, treatment, and prevention that considers and integrates both behavioral and biological aspects of obesity and obesity-related disease.



  • To establish a network of a diverse array of researchers from basic, environmental, social, and behavioral sciences to facilitate interdisciplinary approaches to researching, treating, and advocating for obesity
  • To develop symposia and workshop concepts to educate and inform obesity professionals, researchers, clinicians, about bio-behavioral research in obesity
  • To develop symposia and workshops to recruit and train novice obesity researchers from diverse fields in obesity science
  • To advocate for funding of interdisciplinary research that investigates bio-behavioral aspects of obesity
  • To disseminate information to relevant stakeholders and public health officials regarding the bio-behavioral nature of obesity
  • To provide support and promote mentorship of young researchers in bio-behavioral research by forming interdisciplinary mentorship teams


Join the Bio-Behavioral Research Section

All section members must be a member of The Obesity Society.

If you are not a member of The Obesity Society, join today.  Be certain to select the Bio-Behavioral Research Section when completing your profile.

If you are already a member and would like to join the Bio-Behavioral Research Section please login to your member profile and select the Section. Once you have updated your profile, you will receive all communications pertaining to the section.

Please contact Shameeka Green, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Volunteer Coordinator if you have any questions.



Myles S. Faith, PhD (Chair, 2013-2015)

MFaith for Web

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

Dr. Faith studies familial influences on the development of child eating patterns and obesity. That is, how do parents foster obesity risk or help to reduce obesity in their children? Also, what is the role of nature and nurture in childhood obesity onset? Dr. Faith explores these questions using a variety of designs, including research with twins and adoptees. His work also focuses on lifestyle interventions for childhood obesity treatment/prevention. He has collaborated on school- and primary care-based interventions to prevent childhood obesity. Dr. Faith is active in different professional organizations concerning child health and development. He served on the Nutrition Committee for the American Heart Association’s Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism (NPAM), and was a standing member of the NIH Psychosocial Risk and Disease Prevention Study Section. He is a fellow of the American Heart Association.


Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD (Chair-Elect, 2013-2015)MCardel

University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO

Dr. Michelle Cardel is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition at the University of Colorado Denver. Her research focuses on the etiology, prevention and treatment of pediatric obesity in underserved populations. She is the Chair-Elect of the Bio-Behavioral Research Section, a member of the Diversity Committee, and a past member of the Early-Career Investigator Committee.


Emily Dhurandhar, PhD (Secretary/Treasurer, 2013-2015)EDhurandhar.jpg

University Of Alabama At Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Dr. Emily Dhurandhar is an associate professor in the Department of Health Behavior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She studies human energy balance and eating behavior to better understand the underlying biologic and environmental causes of overeating and weight gain. She is the secretary of the Bio-Behavioral Research Section and the Chair of the Obesity Society's Advocacy Committee.


Elizabeth J. Parks, PhD, FTOS (Council Liaison 2012-2015)Elizabeth Parks

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

I am a tenured Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, both in the School of Medicine at the University of Missouri, Columbia. I received a B.S. in Exercise Physiology at the University of Wisconsin and then became a research assistant, working in laboratories of Drs. Russell Ross and B. Greg Brown in the field of atherosclerosis research, at the University of Washington in Seattle. I completed doctoral studies under the direction of Barbara Schneeman at UC-Davis, an expert in postprandial lipid metabolism, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Marc Hellerstein at UC-Berkeley in the use of stable isotopes to investigate in vivo metabolism. Over the past 16 years, the influences of these two thought leaders in nutrition resulted in my development of new techniques to study the metabolism of food in obesity and insulin resistance. Our lab was the first to demonstrate the significant contribution of the diet to the development of obesity-related, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) through both dietary fat and carbohydrate. Professionally, I have held multiple leadership positions in the American Society for Nutrition - serving as chair of the writing group for the Obesity Platform (statement of ASN research goals), as a member of the nominating committee for awards, advising the new Early Career Group, and am now on the Publications committees. Nationally, I have been a standing member of the NIH review committee (Clinical and Integrative Diabetes and Obesity), served as an ad hoc reviewer for multiple study sections and special emphasis committees, and have co-chaired an NIH symposium on the health impacts of dietary fructose. At TOS, I have been a member for 16 years and a Fellow since 2007. I have served on the Scientific Program Committee (Track 1 Chair), been highly active in mentoring activities for graduate students, Fellows and junior faculty, and I currently serve as an At-large member of the TOS Leadership Council. I am the liaison to the sections that focus on eHealth/mhealth, Biobehavior and Obesity and Cancer.

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