Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Aaron Kelly, PhD, FTOS, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine University of Minnesota.
Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?
A: I am an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine University of Minnesota.
Q: Can you tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory?
A: My research focuses on the clinical aspects of pediatric obesity (pediatric obesity medicine). Current projects include assessing the vascular status of children and adolescents with severe obesity, pediatric obesity pharmacotherapy clinical trials, and evaluation of vascular outcomes following bariatric surgery in adolescents.
Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?
A: Persistence and tenacity. I believe these qualities are necessary to successfully compete for grant funding and publish papers.
Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?
A: Select your mentors carefully. Identify successful researchers who also have a strong track record of mentoring. Solicit feedback from your mentors about the areas and ideas that have the most promise and focus on those. Don't over-extend yourself by trying to pursue all the opportunities that come your way. Be selective and focus your efforts on the areas that are fundable and hold promise to make a meaningful impact in the field.
Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
A: The increasing availability and growing pipeline of new weight loss drugs provides exciting opportunities to examine how pharmacotherapy can be used to improve obesity outcomes. In particular, opportunities exist to identify predictors of response to specific agents in an effort to tailor medical management of obesity.
Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
A: I enjoy spending time with my wife and two girls. Gymnastics rules the day at our house. Between my wife coaching and both of my girls on the team, I've learned a few things about the interesting and unique culture of gymnastics.