Obesity is a complex, costly public health problem with increasing incidence and prevalence. To more comprehensively address the factors that cause and perpetuate the problem and to prevent the associated diseases will require the perspectives and integrative approaches of researchers receiving multidisciplinary training While overweight/obesity stem from positive energy balance (i.e., intake>expenditure), our view is that the predominant problem is feeding dysregulation attributable to errors in regulatory signaling. To further understanding in this area, the present proposal seeks funds to train doctoral students to conduct collaborative research in the area of feeding dysregulation and obesity. This will be accomplished primarily through the Ingestive Behavior Research Center (IBRC) on the Purdue University Campus which is comprised of faculty heading established laboratories with state-of-the-art resources with expertise in the areas of nutrition, physiology, sensory science, endocrinology, metabolism, genetics, food science, psychology and nursing. Didactic training consists of a core curriculum that covers nutritional biochemistry and physiology, statistical methods and research design, controls of feeding and ethics. This is supplemented with more specific and advanced courses in neural systems, endocrinology, sensory systems, infant and child feeding, aging and food science to meet the individual training interests and needs of each trainee. Additional specialized training opportunities are available through researchers associated with the Purdue program in public health, the Purdue Cancer Center, the Purdue Agricultural Research Service and the Indiana University School of Medicine, A distinguished lecturer series and biannual international symposium bring experts to the Center from outside the University to seed new ideas. Students are required to attend and present seminars as well. Thus, research training is provided that can support projects ranging from molecular biology to clinical trials. Satisfactory completion of the IBRC curriculum will be recognized by six departments as an Area of Specialization and so noted on their official transcript. Entering students must have a bachelor's degree in a science field. It is expected they will complete their doctoral training in 4-5 years. Funds are requested for two new students per year who will be supported for two years (a total of 4 trainees). Additional support for completion of the degree program will be provided by a combination of grants awarded to the trainers, a NIH program project grant, USDA training grant, Purdue University fellowships and departmental funds. A better understanding of the factors that guide food choice, eating patterns and portion size should yield insights for the development of more effective therapeutic interventions and weight management recommendations. Didactic and research training on feeding regulation through the IBRC will provide trainees with the knowledge and skill sets necessary to build that understanding.
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