Michael I. Goran

Michael I. Goran, Ph.D.

Dr. Goran holds appointments as Professor in the Departments of Preventive Medicine, Physiology & Biophysics and Pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He is the founding Director of the USC Childhood Obesity Research Center and holds the Dr Robert C and Veronica Atkins Endowed Chair in Childhood Obesity and Diabetes. His research has focused on the causes of consequences of childhood obesity for almost 20 years. Dr Goran received his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester, UK prior to postdoctoral training in the US. He previously served on the faculty of Medicine at the University of Vermont, and the Department of Nutrition Sciences at UAB prior to joining USC in 1999.

Dr Goran is Director of the USC Center for Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (USC C-TREC), a program project funded by the National Cancer Institute, and a Center of Research Excellence in Minority Obesity in Youth from the National Center for Minority Health Disparities. In addition, Dr Goran serves as PI on two RO1 grants funded by NIDDK and NICHD. His work is focused on understanding the metabolic factors linking obesity to increased disease risk during growth and development and using this information as a basis for developing new behavioral and community approaches for prevention and risk reduction. He is also especially interested in ethnic disparities in obesity and obesity related diseases.

Dr. Goran has published almost 200 professional peer-reviewed articles. He was the developer and executive producer of the IMPACT CD-ROM, an interactive computer game promoting physical activity in children. He is the co-editor of the “Handbook of Pediatric Obesity” published in 2006 and an Associate Editor for Obesity. He is currently heading a USC initiative on obesity to bring together faculty from across all disciplines and campuses including Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles.

Full details on Dr Goran’s research can be found on his web-site at: http://www.goranlab.com


Donna Spruijt-Metz

Donna Spruijt-Metz, Ph.D.

Dr. Donna Spruijt-Metz is Associate Professor of Research at the Keck School of Medicine's Department of Preventive Medicine. Her research focuses on pediatric obesity.

Current studies include a longitudinal study of the impact of puberty on insulin dynamics, mood and physical activity in African American and Latina girls (Spruijt-Metz. PI), funded by NCI as part of the USC C-TREC (Center for Trandisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer)(Goran and Bernstein, Center CO-PIs) - one of four TREC centers nationwide.

A recently completed pilot study looked at the acute impact of simple carbohydrate versus complex carbohydrate meals on behavior, insulin dynamics, select gut peptides, and psychosocial measures in our unique observation laboratory. This study yielded some of the first empirical evidence for the sugar rush, and a full-scale version of this study was funded (Spruijt-Metz, PI) as part of our NCHMD-funded Minority Health Center (Goran, PI).

She also heads the KNOWME Networks project in collaboration with Drs Narayanan, Urbashi, Annavaram, Sukhatme and Medvidovic from the Viterbi School of Engineering, funded by NCHMD. The KNOWME Network is a suite of wearable, wireless sensors (a Wireless Body Area Network or WBAN) that is being developed specifically for youth for non-intrusive monitoring of metabolic health, vital signs such as heart rate and stress levels, and physical activity and other obesity-related behaviors. KNOWME Network will allow for immediate, real-time feedback through the phone display and through text messaging, image and voice tags. Dr. Spruijt-Metz envisions a new generation of adaptive, personalized interventions using KNOWME Networks for real-time monitoring, immediate data delivery and rapid adaptive intervention response.

Dr. Spruijt-Metz holds master's degrees in Flute performance and teaching from California Institute of the Arts and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, a masters degree in Creative Writing from Otis College of Art and Design, a masters degree in research methods from the University of Amsterdam and a Ph.D. in adolescent health from the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. Before her re-immigration to the United States, she held a tenured position at the Department of Medical Ethics at the Vrije Universitiet Amsterdam, where she studied public health ethics and adolescent obesity-related behaviors. She is also a professional flutist, and has served on the Board of Directors of the Dutch National Flute Association.


Marc Weigensberg

Marc J. Weigensberg, MD

Dr. Weigensberg holds an appointment as Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics, USC Keck School of Medicine, and is the Director of Pediatric Endocrinology at Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center. He has a major interest in mind-body medicine and was certified in Interactive Guided ImagerySM through the Academy for Guided Imagery, Mill Valley, CA in 1999. Dr. Weigensberg received his medical school training at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, and completed his pediatric residency and pediatric endocrinology fellowship training at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University in Chicago. He was formerly on faculty at the University of Illinois School of Medicine.

Dr. Weigensberg’s major research interest is in the interaction of psychological and physiological factors in the expression of metabolic disease in children and adolescents, particularly the role played by the body’s stress-response system in diabetes and metabolic disease risk. He is an integral clinical investigator in the USC Childhood Obesity Research Center, where he has served as Clinical Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI) and Co-Investigator (Co-I) for multiple lifestyle interventions and other metabolic studies involving diabetes and chronic disease risk in overweight children and adolescents. He is Principle Investigator for the “Imagine Health” study, funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which developed and pilot-tested an innovative lifestyle intervention using guided imagery for Latino adolescents. He is currently Co-I on two projects of the USC Center for Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer (USC C-TREC), as well as PI and Co-I for two separate projects in the USC National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) Center of Excellence in Minority Health in African American and Hispanic Children.


H. Harry Hu

H. Harry Hu, Ph.D.

H. Harry Hu received a B.S. degree in biomedical and biochemical engineering from the University of Southern California (USC) in 2001. Harry was the 2001 recipient of USC’s Fred S. Grodin Award in Undergraduate Excellence. After USC, Harry went on to study medical physics and magnetic resonance imaging at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in 2006. His doctoral thesis focused on rapid MRI data acquisition strategies and the study of intracranial and whole-body angiography to assess vascular diseases. From 2006 - 2009, he was a postdoctoral research associate in the Magnetic Resonance Engineering Laboratory at USC (http://mrel.usc.edu/). Harry is presently a Research Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering. His current research focuses on the development of rapid quantitative fat-water MRI methods to study obesity, brown fat, and metabolism. His main interest is in translational research, where he promotes the use of new non-invasive MRI techniques to address questions in obesity research. His work has involved collaborations with colleagues from USC’s Keck School of Medicine to study hepatic and pancreatic fat infiltrations in overweight adolescents and from Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and the University of Alabama at Birmingham to characterize brown fat in mice and humans. Harry’s thesis and postdoctoral work has resulted in more than 40 conference presentations, ten first-author manuscripts, and one U.S. patent. Harry is also a co-author on multiple articles in journals including Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Journal of Cardiac Magnetic Resonance, Radiology, and Obesity.


 

 

 

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