Basic Science

Basic Science

The purpose of the Basic Science Section (BSS) is to support and promote basic scientific efforts to understand the causes and complications of obesity and to identify mechanisms that lead to its prevention or cure.



  • Promote mentoring, networking, and collaboration among TOS basic science researchers.
  • Promote awareness of interesting new basic science among members.
  • Promote interdisciplinary initiatives focused on comorbidities associated with obesity such as cancer.
  • Encourage participation and recruitment of new basic researchers in obesity and its comorbidities.
  • Increase the national visibility of the basic research component of obesity research and awareness of the important unanswered questions.
  • Enhance basic science content of our journal and annual meeting.


Join us at the annual BSS events. Each year during the Obesity Society Annual meeting, the BSS sponsors several events including a methods workshop, section meeting and social events. These are open to members and those interested in joining the section. The BSS events provide an excellent opportunity to network with other basic obesity researchers.



Basic Science Section Newsletter January 2017

Basic Science Section Newsletter February 2016

Basic Science Section Newsletter March 2015

Basic Science Section Newsletter September 2014


Join the Basic Science 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 Basic Science Section when completing your profile.

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

Please contact Shameeka Green,, Volunteer Manager if you have any questions.



Andrew W. Brown, PhD (Chair, 2016-2017)

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Dr. Andrew W Brown is a Scientist II with the Office of Energetics and Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Formally trained in nutrition, biochemistry, and statistics, he brings practical, basic science experience to evaluating how nutrition and obesity research is conducted and communicated. His recent work primarily focuses on meta-research, which involves investigating myths and presumptions in nutrition and obesity literature, meta-analyzing studies about nutritional influences on obesity, improving research design and reporting to enhance research rigor and reproducibility, and crowdsourcing the synthesis of published research. Dr. Brown has received local, regional, and national awards and spoken internationally about integrity in research reporting and science communication with respect to obesity research. He is passionate about communicating obesity science in ways that help maintain enthusiasm for promising lines of inquiry without disregarding the limitations. He serves as a Deputy Editor for the weekly Obesity and Energetics Offerings, sent to over 75,000 recipients weekly, and is the current chair of the Obesity Research Interest Section with the American Society for Nutrition.

Michael G. Ross, MD, MPH (Chair-Elect, 2016-2017)

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, CA

Dr. Michael Ross is a distinguished Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Public Health at the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS), Harvard Medical School (MD) and Harvard School of Public Health (MPH). Dr. Ross completed his Ob/Gyn residency at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Maternal Fetal Medicine fellowship at Harbor-UCLA and Cedars Sinai Medical Centers. He has over 300 peer-reviewed publications, 600 published abstracts, edited or written five books and numerous book chapters. Dr. Ross is Editor of the Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, and a member of the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Physiology and Reproductive Sciences. He is a recognized expert in fetal physiology and women’s health care. His research, which focuses on the early life origins of obesity, has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, March of Dimes, and American Heart Association.

John A. Dawson, PhD (Secretary/Treasurer, 2016-2017)  

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

John A. Dawson is a biostatistician who specializes in obesity and nutrition-related research. An avid collaborator within and outside of his home institution of Texas Tech University, he has published research and experiments involving the measurement of nutritional outcomes, mRNA and sequence analysis, statistical modeling and randomized controlled trials; his work has appeared in Obesity, the International Journal of Obesity, and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Dawson recently joined the editorial board of the Journal of Obesity and Eating Disorders and provides his expertise as a peer reviewer for nine other journals. Dr. Dawson received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the University of Iowa and his doctorate in statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After receiving his doctorate, he undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in the Office of Energetics and the Section on Statistical Genetics within the Department of Biostatistics at UAB in Birmingham, AL. Dr. Dawson’s current foci include elucidating methodological and analytical errors in obesity research, the design of valid experiments, and wiping self-reported dietary measures from the face of the earth.

Zahra Ezzat-Zadeh PhD, RD (Early Career Representative, 2016-2018)

University Of British Colombia, Vancouver, BC

I am a committed member of TOS with a vision to live in a world where no one develops a disease condition that can be prevented by healthy eating. I am an educator, researcher and clinician. I have earned my MSc in Nutrition, Metabolism and Genetics at University of Calgary and my PhD in Nutrition and Food Sciences at Florida State University. My graduate studies have been focused on the understanding the cellular pathways promoting obesity and related metabolic diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. I utilized genetic, molecular and physiological approaches to investigate these mechanisms and their complications in tissues such as bone, fat and muscle. I have been awarded several times in the US and Canada including my recent award from Basic Science Committee at The Obesity Meeting 2015. My recent research as a postdoctoral trainee at University of British Colombia was focused on early origins of obesity and cardio-metabolic diseases and lifestyle interventions that can affect this association throughout the life span. As a TOS member I have a keen interest in translational knowledge that aims to investigate new preventive and therapeutic concepts in the lab and bring them into clinical practice and public education to prevent and treat obesity.

Diana Thomas

Diana Thomas, PhD (Past Chair, 2016-2017)

Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ

Diana Thomas is a professor of mathematics and the director for the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research at Montclair State University in New Jersey. She has spent over a decade modeling biological phenomena and her research has appeared in journals such as Obesity, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and the New England Journal of Medicine. Her work has been covered by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CBS News, and ABC News. She serves as editor of The Journal of Obesity and Metabolic Research and the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Diana Thomas received her Bachelor of Arts in mathematics from the University of Montana, and her doctorate in mathematics from the Georgia Institute of Technology. After receiving her doctorate, she held a postdoctoral fellowship teaching and conducting research at the United States Military Academy and the Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, Maryland. Her current investigations focus on modeling obesity related questions involving pregnancy and application of energy balance weight loss prediction models to determine dietary adherence.

Gary Schwartz, PhD (Council Liaison 2016-2018)   

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY

Gary J. Schwartz, PhD, studies how the gut and the brain act together to determine how much people eat. He has identified sites in the gastrointestinal tract and brain that detect nutrients and has discovered how these regions are linked to food intake, obesity and diabetes. He also studies gastric-bypass surgery and the key neural and hormonal mechanisms responsible for the significant and long-lasting improvements in body weight, food intake and diabetes following the procedure.

Dr. Schwartz is Director of the Einstein-Mount Sinai Diabetes Research Center Animal Physiology Core at Einstein and Director of the Animal Phenotyping Core of the Columbia University- Einstein New York Obesity Research Center. He also serves on multiple NIH study sections and on scientific grant review panels of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, American Diabetes Association, Endocrine Fellows Foundation and Obesity Society. He is a member of the editorial boards of several journals, including Diabetes, Endocrinology and serves as an associate editor of the American Journal of Physiology, Endocrinology & Metabolism Section.