UT Southwestern receives $1.78 million grant for obesity research as part of NIH Roadmap initiative

DALLAS Sept. 30, 2004 UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas has been awarded a prestigious three-year planning grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the causes of obesity and associated metabolic diseases.

The $1.78 million grant, part of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, creates an Interdisciplinary Research Center and could develop into a permanent Metabolic and Obesity Center at UT Southwestern.

"This grant provides a formal mechanism for investigators from different scientific disciplines to come together under one umbrella to focus their efforts on a single disease process," said Dr. Jay Horton, associate professor of internal medicine in the division of digestive and liver diseases and principal investigator on the grant. "Hopefully, our efforts will provide bigger steps toward understanding the metabolic processes that lead to obesity and some of the metabolic syndromes commonly associated with obesity, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes and fatty liver disease."

The Taskforce for Obesity Research at Southwestern (TORS) was initiated by Dr. Gregory Fitz, chairman of internal medicine. Dr. Horton and 23 other UT Southwestern investigators from various disciplines will examine the behavioral, metabolic and molecular mechanisms that cause obesity and metabolic syndrome. The major focus is the brain and liver, as these organs play key roles in the development of obesity and related disorders.

Four research teams will concentrate on three objectives: to foster interdisciplinary interactions at UT Southwestern to study obesity and metabolic syndromes; to develop state-of-the-art research programs using genetically modified mice to elucidate the metabolic and molecular bases of obesity and metabolic syndromes; and to support translation of scientific findings made in animal models to humans.

Dr. Keith Parker, chief of endocrinology and director of the Jean D. Wilson Center for Biome

Contact: Scott Maier
UT Southwestern Medical Center

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