Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Peter T. Katzmarzyk, PhD, FTOS, Professor and Executive Director for Population and Public Health Sciences at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.
Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?
A: I am a Professor and Executive Director for Population and Public Health Sciences at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I received my PhD in Exercise Science from Michigan State University.
Q: Can you tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory?
A: I currently split my time between research and administration. As you can expect, the research is the fun part. However, my administrative position also allows me to mentor and work with junior faculty and in some small way shape the direction of research at our Center and in the field, and that is also rewarding (some days!).
Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?
A: I think the greatest factor that has contributed to my success is the people I have worked with. I have been very lucky to have outstanding mentors on one side, and extremely good students and post-doctoral fellows on the other side. It is very important in academia, as in other fields, to surround yourself with good people.
Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?
A: Take advantage of opportunities to meet new people, both in your field as well as those in other fields. We are lucky that The Obesity Society includes a broad range of researchers representing pre-clinical, clinical and public health sciences. Take advantage of the annual meeting by attending sessions that are not directly relevant to your current interests, as you never know what the future holds.
Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
A: There is a lot of exciting research going on right now. For me, the most exciting aspects (and most challenging) are related to translation, not just from the bench to the clinic, but also from the clinic to the population. There is a palpable knowledge gap between science and practice, and the challenge is in getting effective clinical program scaled up for public health implementation.
Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
A: I don't understand the question. What do you mean not at work?