The Boston Obesity Nutrition Center (BNORC) was founded in 1992 and has been administratively based at Boston Medical Center (BMC) for the past 20 years. The BNORC consortium is a collaboration consisting of Boston University School of Medicine, Tufts University, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard School of Public Health and serves nutrition and obesity scientists in the greater Boston area. The overall objective of BNORC is to 1) facilitate and support the conduct of cutting edge basic, translational and clinical research in the fields of nutrition and obesity science, and 2) provide resources and educational opportunities that enrich the training of new investigators and promote multi- and interdisciplinary research collaborations. Five Cores serve these goals: A) Administrative (B. E. Corkey, Director, G. Blackburn and C. Apovian, Clinical Associate Directors and A. S. Greenberg, Pilot and Feasibility Associate Director), B) Adipose Biology and Nutrient Metabolism (B. E. Corkey and S. R. Farmer, Co-Directors), C) Epidemiology and Genetics (F. Hu and J. Chavarro, Directors), D) Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics (E. Rosen, Director, and L. Tsai, Associate Director), and E) Transgenic (B. Lowell, Director). The BNORC research base includes 123 members with $49 million of nutrition- and obesity-related federal funding ($13,709,527 (29%) NIDDK and 71% other federal or national). These scientists address basic, clinical and population aspects of three interrelated themes: 1) Nutrient Metabolism in Health and Disease; 2) Brain Control of Feeding Behavior and Metabolism; and 3) Environment and Genetic Influences on Obesity and Related Chronic Diseases. In the past funding period our basic research Cores have evolved to better support the research needs of basic scientists who need state-of- the-art tools to evaluate genetic, genomic, epigenetic, transcriptomic, and functional genomic approaches to understand the biological underpinning that drive food intake and metabolism and how these become dysfunctional in obesity. The Epidemiology and Genetics core provides members who conduct epidemiological and clinical research, as well as basic researchers seeking to translate their findings, with access to large dataset to assess lifestyle (diet, physical activity) and genetic contributions to the development of obesity and related diseases. Core support high impact research by our members and fosters collaborative efforts. Substantial resources are dedicated to our Pilot and Feasibility Program that continues to support the early independent careers of many prominent scientists in the field.
Obesity is a major health problem in the United States. Obesity increases risk for metabolic disease such as type 2 diabetes and shortens lifespan. The Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center brings together nutrition researchers across Boston who study cells, patients with obesity and populations to understand the biology of obesity with the long-term goal of developing new treatments. We focus on how the brain controls food intake, on dietary and lifestyle factors that affect body weight and on how obesity affects the way the body uses nutrients. The Center provides access to state-of-the art technologies to efficiently carry out this work, and provides new investigators with opportunities for winning small pilot funding to develop their careers and ideas.
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