Leadership and Mentors

The study, prevention, and treatment of obesity and CVD require transdisciplinary integration of medical, behavioral, genetic, metabolic, and public health research approaches and findings. A multi-level, transdisciplinary perspective requiring specialized training in translational research methods is required to effectively characterize the relaionship between obesity and CVD.

Accordingly, we have 15 primary mentors and 26 co-mentors who have appointments across 15 departments/divisions, which support a thriving community of trainees. Pairing mentees with mentors from backgrounds in the biomedical, cognitive and behavioral, and population health sciences facilitates trainees’ understanding of multiple factors associated with obesity. This, in turn, enables them to translate and disseminate research findings into impactful interventions – the goal of trandisciplinary science.

Director: Denise Wilfley, PhD; wilfleyd@wustl.edu
Co-Director: Samuel Klein, MD; sklein@wustl.edu

The T32 program is led by two international authorities on obesity, Denise Wilfley, PhD and Samuel Klein, MD. Mentors are drawn from biomedical, cognitive and behavioral, and population health sciences, including Clinical Psychology, Social Work, Public Health, and the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) predoctoral programs in Human and Statistical Genetics, Molecular Cell Biology, and Neurosciences.

Together, the directors, mentors, and co-mentors facilitate the training of four pre- and four postdoctoral research scholars. Trainees establish a collaborative mentorship team with senior and junior faculty from at least two of the three transdisciplinary science domains to support their individual research endeavor.

Mentors

Biomedical Science

Victor Davila-Roman, MD, FACC, FASE 
Professor of Medicine, Anesthesiology, and Radiology and Medical Director in Cardiovascular Imaging and Clinical Research Core Laboratory

Kenneth Freedland, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, associate director of Behavioral Medicine Center

Jeffery Gordon, MD
Dr. Robert J Glaser Distinguished University Professor, director of Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology

Samuel KIein, MD
William H. Danforth Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Science, director of Center for Human Nutrition, Chief of Division of Geriatrics and Nutritional Science, director of Center for Applied Research Sciences, director of Weight Management Program, director of Nutrition Obesity Research Center

Michael Province, PhD
Professor of Genetics and Statistical Genomics, director of Division of Statistical Genomics

Dabeeru C. Rao, PhD
Professor of Biostatistics, Genetics, Psychiatry, and Mathematics, and director of the Division of Biostatistics

Clay Semenkovich, MD
Irene E. and Michael M. Karl Professor, Professor of Medicine and of Cell Biology and Physiology, Chief of Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research

Cognitive and Behavioral Science

Robert Carney, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry

Tamara Hershey, PhD
Professor of Psychiatry, of Neurology, and of Radiology

Patrick Lustman, PhD
Professor of Medical Psychology in Psychiatry

Denise Wilfley, PhD
Scott Rudolph University Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and director of the Center for Healthy Weight and Wellness

Population Health Science

Ross Brownson, PhD
Professor of Epidemiology, George Warren Brown School of Social Work and Department of Surgery at Siteman Cancer Center, and director of the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis

Graham Colditz, MD, DrPH
Deputy Director of Institute for Public Health, Chief of the Division of Public Health Sciences, Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery, associate director of Prevention and Control Program at Siteman Cancer Center

Debra Haire-Joshu, PhD
Joyce Wood Professor, director of the Center for Diabetes Translation Research, director of the Center for Obesity Prevention and Policy Research, and Faculty Director for the Envolve Center for Health Behavior Change

Susan Racette, PhD
Professor of Physical Therapy, Medicine

Supporting centers and institutes

The Washington University School of Medicine Center for Human Nutrition, Institute of Clinical and Translational Sciences, Institute for Public Health, and Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center provide infrastructure for implementing the program and afford trainees state-of-the-art didactic, research, and career development resources and opportunities to engage in impactful, translational science.

We are committed to supporting pre- and postdoctoral trainees from diverse backgrounds. The mission of the Office of Disability Resources is to support students with disabilities by fostering and facilitating an equal access environment for the WashU community of learners. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion focuses on initiatives such as: raising awareness of diversity in the campus community, developing and sharing strategies and educational methods to enhance inclusivity in our organizational culture, supporting efforts to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce, and developing and improving the career development paths for underrepresented minorities working at the School of Medicine.