Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Leanne Redman, MS, PhD, FTOS, Associate Professor and Director of Reproductive Endocrinology & Women's Health Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?
A: I am an Associate Professor and Director of Reproductive Endocrinology & Women's Health Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA.
Q: Please tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory.
A: The focus of my research program is on understanding body weight regulation in humans with a particular emphasis on the impact of body weight on fertility, pregnancy and fetal programming. I completed post-doctoral training in exercise and reproductive endocrinology with Professor Anne Loucks at Ohio University followed by training in energy metabolism with Professor Eric Ravussin at Pennington Biomedical Research Center. I have been successful in securing NIH funding, which started with a K99/R00 pathway to independence award and has grown to include a U01 and R01 project grants. Pertinent to long-term intervention studies in humans on body weight regulation, I am a co-inventor of a smartphone-based virtual weight management clinic.
Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?
A: I am a self-starter. I have found that colleagues are ready and willing to help the young budding postdoc or junior faculty who initiates new ideas, develops hypotheses, analyzes data and publishes. If you want to rise to the top you need to show initiative. It’s important though when you step up to the plate to be involved in something, that you get the job done and follow the timelines that are set.
Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?
A: Don't be shy! It is critical in the current funding climate for junior researchers to reach out to Faculty leaders and solicit their guidance and mentoring, particularly in developing ideas and grant-writing. I would not have achieved grant success without the support from senior leadership at Pennington Biomedical. My advice is to not be shy or concerned with getting a negative critique. Put yourself out there, be vulnerable!
Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
A: I am particularly interested in the role of the obesogenic environment on fertility and fetal programming. The idea that epigenetic programming for metabolic disorders can begin in the womb is intriguing. Being that moms are still thought of as the 'nutrition gatekeepers' in the home, I am excited to learn how to best utilize current state and national infrastructure to reach mothers and translate the clinical research to practice that will bring about change for the next generations of children.
Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
A: Pretty much anything outdoors. I also like to cook.