Here are some questions and answers from our interview with TOS Fellow Nikhil Dhurandhar, PhD, FTOS, Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University, and President of The Obesity Society.
Q: What is your title and organizational affiliation?
A: I am a Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. Also as of last week, I am President of The Obesity Society.
Q: Please tell us about your current work and your professional developmental trajectory.
A: Right after medical school, as a physician, I learned obesity medicine from my father, Dr. Vinod Dhurandhar, whom many consider as the father of obesity practice in India. He was the founding president of the Indian Obesity Association (AI-AARO) and started obesity practice in India in 1962. Although I started as an obesity practitioner, later, upon obtaining my MS in Nutrition and PhD in Biochemistry, I became a full time obesity researcher. Inducing and maintaining substantial weight loss remains a challenge for the majority. This led me to investigate causes of obesity, including Infectobesity – Obesity of Infectious Origin. My long term interest is to develop prevention and treatment approaches that are effective and widely applicable in free living communities.
Q: What is one of your professional or personal qualities that has contributed to your success?
A: "Perseverance with introspection" has helped stay my course, but at the same time, not ignore criticism.
Q: What advice do you have for today's junior obesity researchers?
A: Even seemingly unexpected data may be telling some important story. Pay careful attention, particularly to anomalous results.
Q: What aspects of obesity research are the most exciting to you right now?
A: The complexity of obesity. Recent awareness about multiple contributors of obesity is really heartening. This may eventually lead to cause-specific prevention and treatment approaches.
Q: What are your favorite things to do when you're not at work?
A: Swimming, racquet ball, and observing human behavior. But, most importantly, to debate and solve all world problems! :)