Bio-Behavioral Research

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



Bio-Behavioral Research Section Newsletter January 2017

Bio-Behavioral Research Section Newsletter December 2015


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,, Volunteer Manager if you have any questions.


Apply for the Bio-Behavioral Research Section "Ignite-style" Talk Competition

Are you a student, post-doctoral fellow or early career investigator? If you would like the chance to present your research idea and gain valuable feedback from leaders in the field, you can apply for the opportunity to give a five-minute “Ignite-style" Talk at the 2017 TOS Bio-Behavioral Research Section Business Meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 1 at ObesityWeek 2017 in Washington, DC.

To be considered, please submit a project narrative (500 words or less) by August 4, 2017 to Your narrative should include:

  • An innovate, creative, and exciting idea related to obesity research
  • Why your idea is truly creative
  • Brief overview of the approach

An "Ignite-style" Talk is a high-energy, fast and fun presentation where speakers present on a subject accompanied by 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds. Using this format, presenters will be expected to discuss the following in five minutes:

  • Overarching research question
  • Current plans for approach
  • Clinical or real world implications

Your presentation will be followed by a three-minute discussion and feedback session with experts in the field.

To apply, please email the following to Dr. Emily Dhurandhar, Chair of the Bio-behavioral Research Section, at

  • Name
  • Email
  • Early Career Stage
  • Institution
  • Mentor (if applicable)
  • Project Narrative (500 words or less) 

Please contact Dr. Dhurandhar with questions. We will let you know if you were selected as one of the five finalists for the competition by mid-September, 2017. First, second, and third place winners of the competition will win cash prizes.



Emily Dhurandhar, PhD (Chair, 2016-2017)

Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX

Dr. Emily Dhurandhar’s research interest is in the dietary and psychosocial factors that influence energy balance-related behaviors and body weight. She developed an interdisciplinary research program to quantify and study how particular foods and food components, eating patterns, environmental factors, and psychosocial factors may perturb the homeostatic regulation of energy balance to result in weight gain and obesity. Dr. Dhurandhar conducts secondary data analysis, observational studies randomized clinical trials, and human feeding trials for this purpose.

Tiffany L. Carson, PhD, MPH (Chair-Elect, 2016-2017)

University of Alabama School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL

Dr. Carson is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Preventive Medicine in the Department of Medicine at the UAB School of Medicine. She is also an Associate Scientist in the UAB Nutrition Obesity Research Center, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center. Dr. Carson is an applied epidemiologist with expertise in the area of psychosocial factors related to obesity such as stress, social support, body image, and quality of life. Dr. Carson’s current research also incorporates biological measures into her investigations to inform a bio-behavioral model for addressing obesity and other health disparities. She has received funding from an NCI Diversity Supplement, additional pilot grant programs, and most recently, an NCI Career Development Award (K01) to examine the complex relationships between biological (e.g., cortisol, gut microbiota) and behavioral (e.g., stress, coping, dietary intake) factors and their effects on weight and weight loss among black and white women and men living in the Deep South. Dr. Carson has published in the areas of obesity, diet, physical activity, stress and other psychosocial factors related to obesity in black women.

Sridevi Krishnan, PhD (Secretary/Treasurer, 2016-2017)

University of California Davis, Davis, CA

Dr. Krishnan’s research focuses on characterizing human variability in macronutrient metabolism with specific impacts on energy intake and expenditure, body weight maintenance, obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. She has a Bachelors’ and a Masters’ degree in Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics from Madras University, India. She completed her PhD in Nutritional Biology from University of California Davis, followed postdoctoral training at Texas Tech and UC Davis. She has worked on understanding how dietary macronutrient challenges, exercise interventions and dietary fatty acids impact body weight, fuel utilization and insulin resistance, as well as phenotyping and characterizing the role of HDL in cardio-metabolic health. She has focused on understanding interactions between physiological, psychological, social, endocrine and health behaviors, as part of her work so far. She identified that intrinsic motivation is improved in group exercise activities, which increases compliance to the exercise program, thereby impacting body weight maintenance, as part of a Zumba intervention study done in over weight/ obese and type 2 diabetic women (Krishnan et al, 2015, AJHB, 39(1):109-120). She has also investigated the interaction between circulating steroid hormones estradiol, progesterone and leptin, and whether they are associated with craving behaviors in women across their menstrual cycle (The FASEB Journal 30 (1 Supplement), 418.6-418.6). She is a member of the American Society for Nutrition, as well as The Obesity Society, and recently won the Translational Research Award Competition for an oral talk presented at ASN’s Experimental Biology conference.

William Neumeier, MA (Early Career Representative, 2015-2017)           

University Of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Mr. Neumeier is a doctoral candidate in the Lifespan Developmental Psychology Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with an expected graduation date of April 2016. Mr. Neumeier was also a pre-doctoral fellow with UAB’s Nutrition & Obesity Research Center (NORC), sponsored by a T32 awarded by NHLBI to Dr. David Allison. Mr. Neumeier’s training has focused on interdisciplinary research that combines the fields of psychology, exercise physiology, and nutrition. His current research investigates the effects of mental work and high intensity interval exercise on eating behavior. Mr. Neumeier has also assisted with projects related to cognitive load, menu design, food ordering behavior, exercise intensity, and exercise modality. Mr. Neumeier has attended and presented at multiple national conferences, including Obesity Week and The American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting. Mr. Neumeier’s future goals include continued integration of biological and behavioral approaches towards understanding the obesity epidemic, and continued advocacy for a multi-faceted approach in obesity research, treatment, and prevention.

Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD (Past Chair, 2016-2017)    

University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL

Dr. Cardel is a nutrition and obesity researcher and registered dietitian in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy at the University of Florida. Dr. Cardel received her Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Florida State University in 2005. In 2009, she was awarded a Master’s Degree in Clinical Nutrition and in 2012, a Doctorate Degree in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). She went on to complete her dietetic internship at UAB and the Alaskan Native Medical Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Her research is focused on understanding factors that contribute to the development of obesity and implementing effective prevention and treatment programs for childhood obesity in underserved populations. Her specialties include nutrition, obesity, weight management, pediatric obesity, psychosocial factors contributing to obesity, and health disparities. Dr. Cardel is a member of The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, The Obesity Society, and American Society for Nutrition (ASN), where she was recently recognized as the recipient of the ASN Grand Prize for Young Minority Investigators Award. She has presented at both national and international conferences and has been awarded a variety of awards including the UAB’s President’s Diversity Award, Charles Barkley Young Investigator Award, UAB’s Outstanding Woman Award, The Obesity Society’s Ethan Sims Young Investigator Award finalist, and a National Cancer Institute CURE Program Grant. She is passionate about trans-disciplinary obesity research and is co-founder and Chair of the Bio-Behavioral Research Section for The Obesity Society.

Deanna M. Hoelscher, PhD, RD, LD, CNS, FISBNPA (Council Liaison 2015-2017)            

University of Texas, School of Public Health, Austin, TX

I am delighted to serve as the TOS Council Liaison for the Obesity & Cancer Section. On behalf of the TOS Council, I would like to welcome you all to this Section. I also encourage you to become involved in TOS and to take advantage of the opportunities to share your science, network, gain leadership skills, and help address one of the most pressing public health issues of our time.

My research interests focus on the upstream prevention of cancer through my research on child obesity and obesity-related behaviors, specifically diet and physical activity. Our research team has developed, evaluated and disseminated several behaviorally-based programs for prevention of child obesity; these programs have focused on individual determinants as well as policy, system and environmental approaches. In addition, I have conducted several obesity epidemiology studies, including a statewide surveillance of child obesity in Texas. In 2012, I was a workgroup and committee member for the Texas Cancer Plan for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT), which set goals for cancer research and prevention for the state.