Executive Committee

TOS President

Catherine Kotz, PhD, FTOS


A leading researcher into the neuroscience of obesity and energy balance, Dr. Catherine Kotz is professor and director of graduate studies at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology.

She is also associate director of research at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center in Minneapolis.

Dr. Kotz is a long-time, active member of TOS and has served on numerous Society committees, including Public Affairs, Nominating, Planning, Finance and Publications.

She has also served on TOS Council and as a spokesperson for the organization. She holds two advanced degrees from the University of Minnesota; a PhD in nutrition sciences and a master of science degree in human nutrition.

TOS President-Elect

Dan Bessesen, MD, FTOS


Dr. Dan Bessesen is professor of medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine (UCSOM). He is also director of the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center on the campus of UCSOM, the associate director of the Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center, and holds the Anschutz Foundation Endowed Chair in Health and Wellness.

Dr. Bessesen has conducted research funded by the National Institutes of Health into nutrient metabolism and the regulation of body weight, and has also researched the care of patients with obesity. He has been a member of TOS since 1995 and has served on multiple committees and in many leadership positions. Dr. Bessesen holds a bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University and received his MD degree from the University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center.

TOS Vice President

Elizabeth Parks, PhD


Dr. Elizabeth Parks received her PhD from the University of California, Davis in the Department of Nutrition and she completed a post-doctoral fellow at Berkeley. She has held academic positions at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. She is currently a tenured professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, within the Medical School, at the University of Missouri at Columbia. She also serves as associate director of the Clinical Research Center in the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.

The major research contributions of Dr. Parks’ lab emanate from her development of new techniques for use in animal models and in humans to discover how obesity alters the metabolism of food to lead to disease. Dr. Parks’ lab was the first to investigate the transition from fasting to feeding to uncover how dietary carbohydrate contributes to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

TOS Immediate Past President

Lee M. Kaplan, MD, PhD, FTOS


Dr. Lee M. Kaplan is director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and founding director of the hospital’s Weight Center. He is also associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School (HMS). Dr. Kaplan’s research focuses on the role of the gastrointestinal tract in the regulation of energy balance and metabolic function, including the mechanism of action of bariatric and metabolic surgery. He has authored more than 200 medical and scientific papers.

Dr. Kaplan is director of the subspecialty fellowship program in Obesity Medicine and Nutrition at MGH; director of the Blackburn Course in Obesity Medicine at HMS; and associate director of the Nutrition and Obesity Research Center at Harvard, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and a diplomate in internal medicine and gastroenterology of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

TOS Secretary/Treasurer

Leah Whigham, PhD, FTOS


Dr. Leah Whigham is the founding executive director of the Paso del Norte Institute for Healthy Living (IHL) and associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Her research has increased our understanding of metabolism as it relates to obesity, the influence of nutrients and immune function on body composition, and the impact of the environment on nutrition and physical activity.

At the IHL, Dr. Whigham oversees a mission to increase healthy eating and active living by providing a bridge between science and application that empowers individuals, families, organizations, and communities to build a culture of health.

Dr. Whigham has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Iowa State University and a PhD in nutritional sciences from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Ellen A. Schur MD, MS
University of Washington
Councilor: Clinical Practice

Katherine Bauer, PhD
University of Michigan
Councilor: Population/Epidemiology/Community

Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, PhD, FTOS
Uniformed Services University
Councilor: At-Large

Terry Huang, PhD, MPH, CPH, FTOS
City University of New York
Councilor: WOF Regional VP

Scott Kahan, MD, FTOS
National Center for Weight and Wellness
Councilor: Advocacy/Public Affairs/Regulatory

Leanne Redman, PhD, FTOS
Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Councilor: At-Large

Edna Nava González, PhD
Autonomous University of Nuevo León
Councilor: At-Large-Mexico

Jacqueline Stephens, PhD, FTOS
Louisiana State University
Councilor: Basic/Experimental/Preclinical

Sarah Barlow, MD
University of Texas Southwestern
Councilor: Clinical Research

Angela Alberga, PhD
Concordia University
Councilor: At-Large-Canada, 2018-2021