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Speakers for The Obesity Epidemic: Discussing the global health crisis: 18th – 20th April 2017


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These are the biographies of some of our accepted speakers. Not all our speakers are listed here.

Adeel Ahmad, Consultant Family Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre Jeddah, Birmingham, Saudi Arabia

Dr Adeel is a Consultant in the Family Medicine Department at KFSHRC – Jeddah. He completed his General Practice training, Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners and DRCOG from UK. He holds a Masters (MSc Sports and Exercise Medicine) from University Of Nottingham, UK and is Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ) USA. He is Director, Family Medicine Residency Training Program and Chairman, Evidence Based Practice Committee KFSHRC – Jeddah. His interests include research, evidence based medicine, musculoskeletal medicine, obesity and physical activity. He is member of the scientific advisory board and reviews research articles for international journals.

Richard L. Atkinson, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, VA, United States

Richard Atkinson is Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Affiliate Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University; Executive Director, Virginia Obesity Research Institute; and President of Obetech, LLC. He is Editor of the International Journal of Obesity and of Nutrition and Diabetes; and Past President of NAASO (now TOS), the American Obesity Association, and the American Society for Clinical Nutrition. His recent research focuses on virus-induced obesity. He first reported that a human adenovirus (Adv36) produces obesity in animals and is associated with obesity in humans. He has >200 publications and >250 abstracts in the medical literature.

Shafqat Ahmad, Harvard University, Boston, United States

Dr. Shafqat Ahmad is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Nutrition, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University USA. Dr. Ahmads long term research interests involve the development of a comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology and how genes in interaction with different lifestyle exposures including dietary factors contribute to cardiometabolic and cardiovascular related diseases. Dr. Ahmads research also focus on ethnic and socioeconomic variations in obesity and related metabolic diseases.

Kiera Buchanan, Centre for Integrative Health, Brisbane, Australia

Catherine Christie, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, United States

Dr Catherine Christie is Associate Dean and Professor in the Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida. She is co-author of four books including The Latino Food Lovers Glossary, Fat is Not Your Fate, Eat to Stay Young and Id Kill for a Cookie.

A Registered Dietitian and Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dr Christie earned her Masters and Ph.D. in nutrition from Florida State University. She recently received the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Outstanding Dietetic Educator Award and the Excellence in Practice Award for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics.

Anne M. Davis, University of New Haven, West Haven, United States

Jane Deville-Almond, British Obesity Society, United Kingdom

Jane has a career spanning over 40 years working at the cutting edge of innovation having had much national and local press coverage and appearing on many TV and radio shows. Since 1997 she has run mens health surgeries and weight management clinics in many unusual places including pubs, barbers shop, Harley-Davidson show room, truck stops, crown green bowling clubs, working mens clubs and fishing fairs. Her research on diabesity and male truck drivers was presented at the IDF World Diabetes Congress in Montreal and published in the American Journal of Mens Health.

Abdul G. Dulloo, Department of Medicine, Division of Physiology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Abdul Dulloo is Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. He obtained a Bachelor degree in Physiology and a PhD degree in Nutrition from the University of London in UK, followed by a 2 year postdoctoral research fellowship at Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA. He subsequently worked as a research associate in the Department of Physiology at the University of Geneva, before joining in 1999 the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, where he has since been directing the Laboratory of Nutritional Energetics and Body Composition Regulation. His research interests center upon two main areas, namely: (i) elucidating the ‘thrifty’ mechanisms that interlink adaptive thermogenesis, body composition regulation and insulin resistance in pathways from weight fluctuations to obesity and the metabolic syndrome, and (ii) the search for bioactive food ingredients with thermogenic and insulin-sensitizing properties for managing obesity and diabetes. Prof. Dulloo is currently an executive committee member of the Swiss Association for Study of Obesity, an editorial board member of the International Journal of Obesity, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards and Research Review Panels of several European organisations.

Ellen Govers, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Deborah Gustafson, Department of Neurology, Section for NeuroEpidemiology, NY, USA

Deborah Gustafson is a Professor at the State University of New York-Downstate Medical Center, Department of Neurology, Section for NeuroEpidemiology. Dr. Gustafson was first to report on overweight and obesity increasing risk of Alzheimer’s disease in Swedish population studies. Today, she explores adipose tissue and its metabolism in relationship to cognition, neuropsychiatric disorders and brain structure in epidemiologic studies.  In Brooklyn, she is Co-Principal Investigator on the NIH’s Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a multi-center cohort study, where she chairs the Aging Working Group and leads frailty assessment efforts. She is also a co-Investigator on AGECAP, a Swedish aging initiative.

Shelley Gorman, Telethon Kids Institute, West Perth, Australia

Dr Shelley Gorman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute. Her research aims to better understand the health effects of sun exposure and vitamin D. She is focused on determining how ultraviolet radiation modulates metabolic dysfunction, inflammation, and immunity. Dr Gorman was awarded the Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Foundation Al and Val Rosenstrauss Fellowship beginning in 2016 to investigate how safe sun exposure might be harnessed to reduce obesity development.

Virginia Gil-Rivas, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA

Virginia Gil-Rivas is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Director of the Health Psychology Ph.D. al Program the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  She is interested in the development, implementation, and evaluation of culturally appropriate brief cognitive behavioral interventions that can be widely disseminated in primary care and community settings.  In particular, she has conducted work with vulnerable populations (i.e., immigrants, individuals from ethnic/racial minority groups, and other vulnerable populations) that are frequently excluded from behavioral interventions.

Caz Hales, Victoria University of Wellington, United Kingdom

Dr Caz Hales has a research background in health care practices and service provision for obese patients, health-related social stigma, and attitudes and perceptions of health care professionals towards obesity. Caz is the co-founder and researcher for the Bariatric Management Innovation (BMI) initiative which supports the development and delivery of safe, appropriate, equitable care and service provision for very large patients. Currently, Caz is taking time out from her role at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and is working in the UK as a Senior Research Nurse at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust.

Dimitrios A. Koutoukidis, UCL Institute for Womens Health, London, United Kingdom

Dimitrios Koutoukidis holds an MSc in Clinical and Public Health Nutrition from UCL. He undergone his dietetic internship in general and oncological hospitals and has been involved in national and European research projects focusing on obesity and dietary patterns. His PhD, funded by UCL Grand Challenges Scheme, investigated the role of nutrition and physical activity in endometrial cancer survivors. He is currently working on evaluating behavioural lifestyle interventions in cancer survivors.

Daria Kashtanova, National Research Center for Preventive Medicine of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation, Russian Gerontology Clinical Research Center, Moscow, Russia

Dr. Kashtanova graduated from I.M. Sechenov First Moscow State Medical University (medical faculty) and also Moscow Technological University (IT faculty). Now she is PhD student in National Research Center for Preventive Medicine of the Ministry of Healthcare of the Russian Federation and scientific worker in Russian Gerontology Clinical Research Center. Area of interest: gut microbiota, metabolic symdrome, ageing (gerontology), cardiovascular and endocrine disorders, bioinformatics.

Daniel Stein, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Ramat Gan, Israel

Prof. Daniel Stein, M.D. is a certified psychiatrist and child and adolescent psychiatrist. He is the emeritus director of the Pediatric Psychosomatic Department, The Edmond and Lily Safra Childrens Hospital, The Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel. He is a full Professor (clinical) and Head of the Section of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Department of Psychiatry, the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, University of Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel. Prof. Stein has written over 150 articles and book chapters published in prominent international journals and books. He is has recently completed, as a co-editor, the publication of three books on eating disorders

Karen Knapp, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter, United Kingdom

Karen Knapp is an Associate Professor in Musculoskeletal Imaging at the University of Exeter. Combining a passion for research and education with her clinical background, Karen utilises research-led teaching to inspire students. With a background in teaching undergraduate and post-graduate students from masters through to professional doctorates and supervising PhD students, Karen is keen to engage at all levels of higher education. Karens primary research interest is in bone health, osteoporosis and associated pathologies, along with developing and testing computer aided detection (CAD) software in vertebral fracture patients. Karen is actively involved in the National Osteoporosis Society and the Society and College of Radiographers.

Clare Llewellyn, University College London, London, United Kingdom

Clare Llewellyn is a Lecturer in Behavioural Obesity Research at UCL. Her research interest is understanding how genes and the environment interact to promote excessive weight gain, with a focus on obesogenic behaviours, including eating behaviour and sleep. In 2007, with Professor Jane Wardle she established Gemini, the largest population-based birth cohort of twins ever set up to study genetic and environmental contributions to early life growth. Clare currently leads the Gemini study. She is also an elected Trustee for the UK Association for the Study of Obesity, and an honorary Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool.

Anne-Thea McGill, Massey University, Brisbane, Australia

Dr Anne-Thea McGill BSc.MBChB.FRNZCGP a General Practitioner (GP), now lives in Australia. She is applying to the RACGP to continue primary care weight & eating disorders management. She completed a PhD in Novel Clinical Metabolic Markers and Causes of Obesity-Related Metabolic Syndrome at the University of Auckland, taught at the GP dept & publishes articles. She continues obesity/nutrition related research & academic conference & community presentations. Her passion is linked biological & systems modelling theory, evolutionary human nutrition, addiction behaviours, & sustainable food production in healthy environments. Dr McGill plans to set up Human Ecology Consortia in a multi campus institution.

Graham MacGregor, Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom,

Professor MacGregor trained as a nephrologist but became interested in blood pressure control mechanisms, particularly where salt puts up blood pressure.

In 1996 he set up Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH), to try to get the food industry to add less salt to the food, thereby reducing the population salt intake. This resulted in a successful salt reduction programme being implemented and the UK now leads the world in salt reduction.

He later set up Action on Sugar which aims to reduce added sugar in processed foods in the same way as has been done with salt.

Shankar Munusamy, College of Pharmacy, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar

Dr. Shankar is an assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy, Qatar University. He received his PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (USA) in 2008. He holds a bachelors in Pharmacy and master’s degree in Pharmacology (India). He worked an Instructor in the Department of Physiology at the University of Mississippi prior to his current academic appointment at Qatar University.

Dr. Shankar’s research is focused on diabetes- and obesity-induced kidney disease and renal cell carcinoma. He has published 11 peer-reviewed papers, and over 35 abstracts to his credit. He has received competitive research funds from the Qatar National Research Fund through National Priorities Research Program.

Robert Pretlow, MD, MSEE, FAAP – eHealth International, Seattle, USA

James Scott Parrott, Rutgers University, NJ, USA

Dr. Parrott has worked for over 25 years in the areas of statistics, epidemiology and evidence analysis. For the past six years, I have worked as professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey with appointments in the Departments of Nutritional Sciences, Interdisciplinary Studies, and the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. I currently teach intro and advanced statistical methods and evidence analysis to masters and doctoral students.

Sharon Robertson, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia

Sharon is a strong advocate for the scientist practitioner model and holds a PhD and Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Adelaide. She has worked in both hospital and private clinical settings, as well as facilitating group work for weight loss programs. She is passionate about researching and developing innovative and engaging programs designed to facilitate weight loss and maintenance in obese populations, in the service of achieving symptom reduction and improving quality of life.

Debra Waters, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Jane Ziegler, Associate Professor and Program Director, Graduate Programs in Clinical Nutrition, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, NJ, USA

Dr. Ziegler is an Associate Professor at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine. Her areas of clinical practice include neonatal, pediatric and adolescent nutrition, primarily in the areas pediatric pulmonary, gastrointestinal disease and pediatric weight management. She served as a member of the Pediatric Weight Management Expert Workgroup of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Evidence Analysis Library. She provides clinical support to the Orofacial Pain, Oral Medicine, Pediatric and Special Needs Dental Clinics and is a mentor for the New Jersey Leadership Education for Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program.

Margaret Ashwell, Ashwell Associates, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Dr Margaret Ashwell OBE was among the very first to advocate the use of the simple waist-to-height ratio as a warning of early health risk with the practical, universal message: “Keep your waist to less than half your height”. Initial screening only requires a piece of string. She has been a Research Scientist with the Medical Research Council, Principal of the Good Housekeeping Institute, Science Director of the British Nutrition Foundation and Director of Ashwell Associates. Margaret is a Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School, City University London and is President/ Chair of the Association for Nutrition .

Andrea Romani, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, United States

Dr. Andrea M. P. Romani, MD, PhD, obtained both his degrees from the University of Siena, Italy. Upon completing his postdoctoral studies under Dr. Scarpa, he joined the faculty in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University, where he is currently Associate Professor. Dr. Romani has published 90 peer-review articles in high profile journals together with numerous invited reviews and book chapters. He is currently serving as an Editorial Board Member for several journals including Biochemical Pharmacology, PLOS One and Magnesium Research.


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