Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Chris Ochner, PhD, FTOS, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City:
Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?
A: I am an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics & Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. I am also the Director of Research Development & Administration at Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, and a Research Associate at NY Obesity Nutrition Research Center.
Q: Can you tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory?
A: I completed my PhD in clinical psychology at Drexel University in Philadelphia in 2006. I then completed an individual NIH grant fellowship at the Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition/New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center. In 2009, I received an NIH career development award and was promoted to faculty at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, becoming the youngest Columbia faculty to run an independent research laboratory and publishing >20 peer-reviewed articles since 2009. I have served as a mentor for graduate students, full bright scholars, residents and fellows. Now, as faculty at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Director of Research Training and Development at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, I work to develop a clinically-based program of research in the area of obesity prevention and treatment, as well as fostering the development of research in other areas within the Adolescent Health Center.
Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?
Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?
A: Plan far ahead, work harder than you thought you could and never ever give up.
Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
A: The field is finally coming to realize that obesity is not just a lifestyle choice and "move more and eat less" is inadequate as the basis for a treatment strategy. Intensive exploration of the neural and biological mechanisms that sustain obesity once present are ushering in a whole new era and new outlook on the etiology and treatment of obesity.
Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
A: Think about work, plan for work the next day, prepare to do work. Kidding! Getting away from work is vital to prevent burnout. I'm a book author, a junior chef, and an avid exerciser. Your body has to be healthy for brain to function properly.