The objective of the proposed Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award is to promote the candidate's development as an independent clinical trial researcher in mind-body medicine with a focus on the prevention and treatment of obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Obesity is the fastest growing epidemic with 65% of Americans overweight or obese. The vast majority who achieve short-term weight loss, gain it back over time. Psychological stress contributes to overeating, weight gain, and metabolic dysregulation. The stress-related motivation to consume calorically-dense palatable food has a physiological basis involving the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and central opioidergic system. Standard weight loss programs fail to adequately address the impact of stress on food intake and metabolism. Dr. Daubenmier's research has shown that yoga and meditation practices are associated with greater psychological well-being, less disordered eating, greater weight loss, and improved metabolic function. These results indicate that mind-body interventions should be rigorously tested to determine whether they enhance the effectiveness of existing weight loss programs. The candidate seeks additional training in the design and conduct of randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of mind-body interventions and understanding of physiological mechanisms underlying stress-induced food intake and metabolic dysregulation. The University of California, San Francisco is an ideal environment for the proposed training because it provides access to experts in RCT methodology, mind-body interventions, and the basic sciences of physiological aspects of stress and relations to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. The training plan comprises formal coursework, informal tutorials with experts in their respective fields, and supervision of Dr. Daubenmier's leadership as PI on a RCT assessing the efficacy of a 3-month diet and exercise weight loss intervention incorporating mind-body techniques for overweight/obese women at risk for the metabolic syndrome. The control group intervention comprises diet and exercise guidelines only. Participants will be followed for one year to examine changes in weight, fat distribution, glucose tolerance, and potential psychological and physiological mediators. This research will help establish whether mind-body practices improve existing weight loss programs by normalizing healthy food intake, enhancing weight loss maintenance, and preventing metabolic sequelae.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research & Training (K01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZAT1-LD (14))
Program Officer
Weber, Wendy J
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California San Francisco
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
San Francisco
United States
Zip Code
Mason, Ashley E; Epel, Elissa S; Aschbacher, Kirstin et al. (2016) Reduced reward-driven eating accounts for the impact of a mindfulness-based diet and exercise intervention on weight loss: Data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. Appetite 100:86-93
Mason, Ashley E; Epel, Elissa S; Kristeller, Jean et al. (2016) Effects of a mindfulness-based intervention on mindful eating, sweets consumption, and fasting glucose levels in obese adults: data from the SHINE randomized controlled trial. J Behav Med 39:201-13
Daubenmier, Jennifer; Moran, Patricia J; Kristeller, Jean et al. (2016) Effects of a mindfulness-based weight loss intervention in adults with obesity: A randomized clinical trial. Obesity (Silver Spring) 24:794-804
Mason, Ashley E; Lustig, Robert H; Brown, Rashida R et al. (2015) Acute responses to opioidergic blockade as a biomarker of hedonic eating among obese women enrolled in a mindfulness-based weight loss intervention trial. Appetite 91:311-320
Buss, Julia; Havel, Peter J; Epel, Elissa et al. (2014) Associations of ghrelin with eating behaviors, stress, metabolic factors, and telomere length among overweight and obese women: preliminary evidence of attenuated ghrelin effects in obesity? Appetite 76:84-94
Daubenmier, Jennifer; Hayden, Dara; Chang, Vickie et al. (2014) It's not what you think, it's how you relate to it: dispositional mindfulness moderates the relationship between psychological distress and the cortisol awakening response. Psychoneuroendocrinology 48:11-8
Tomiyama, A Janet; Epel, Elissa S; McClatchey, Trissa M et al. (2014) Associations of weight stigma with cortisol and oxidative stress independent of adiposity. Health Psychol 33:862-7
Daubenmier, Jennifer; Lustig, Robert H; Hecht, Frederick M et al. (2014) A new biomarker of hedonic eating? A preliminary investigation of cortisol and nausea responses to acute opioid blockade. Appetite 74:92-100
Daubenmier, Jennifer; Sze, Jocelyn; Kerr, Catherine E et al. (2013) Follow your breath: respiratory interoceptive accuracy in experienced meditators. Psychophysiology 50:777-89
Mehling, Wolf E; Price, Cynthia; Daubenmier, Jennifer J et al. (2012) The Multidimensional Assessment of Interoceptive Awareness (MAIA). PLoS One 7:e48230

Showing the most recent 10 out of 14 publications