The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

The newly renovated Nursing and Education Building Credit: Rory Heilakka , Rory Heilakka

Even to the uninitiated, a research grant to the tune of $1.7 million from the National Institutes of Health seems like a striking accomplishment.

Nursing professor Tanja Kral and two collaborators recently received this money to study genetic predisposition to obesity in children, which affects nearly 20 percent of kids in the United States today.

Kral, biostatistician Renee Moore of North Carolina State University and nutritionist Jennifer Orlet Fisher of Temple University have created lab-based experiments involving groups of seven to nine-year-old children. The eating behaviors of obese children with a genetic predisposition for obesity will be compared to the eating behaviors of lean children without a similar genetic predisposition.

The scientists will look at the extent to which the groups’ eating behaviors resemble each other in order to create ways to identify children at great risk of becoming overweight.

The process was a highly collaborative one. Fisher, the interim director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple, took charge of the recruitment and enrollment of subjects, and Moore helped conceive testable hypotheses and randomized experimental conditions, in addition to collecting and analyzing data.

“[The grant proposal] was a lot of work to put together,” Moore said. “We were always holding our fingers crossed.” Kral incorporated a substantial amount of data from pilot studies into her proposal.

Moore also encourages students to seek opportunities to assist in research projects, simply by getting in touch with researchers and asking “how [to] help out.”

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.