Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity & Metabolism

Clinical Research in Obesity, Nutrition, and Related Disorders


 Naji Abumrad            Douglas Heimburger
 Ayman Al-Hendy Talat Ikizler
 Italo Biaggioni Jefferson Lomenick
 Nancy Brown Sohee Park
 Mac Buchowski David Robertson
 Bruce Damon Cyndya Shibao
  Heidi Silver


 Vanderbilt has a very strong program in clinical research on autonomic function, blood pressure, and glucose homeostasis (Biaggioni, Brown, Robertson, Shibao).  These investigators have all turned their attention to understanding the role of obesity in increasing the incidence of hypertension. Dr. Brown, Chair of the Clinical Pharmacology Division, studies roles of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone and kallikrein-kinin systems in modulating oxidative stress, inflammation and glucose homeostasis in humans. Dr. Cydyna Shibao has relied on the combined expertise of these experienced clinical researchers, along with the expertise of faculty and nursing staff at Meharry Medical College for the recruitment of African-American patients in her project on obesity mediated hypertension in African-American Women.


Dr. Naji Abumrad, Chairman of Surgery at Vanderbilt leads efforts on research in bariatric surgery.  His own research program is focused on improvements in co-morbidities following bariatric surgery.  He also has assisted in creation of the Bariatrics Subcore, and is mentoring new investigators.  


Dr. Abumrad has also helped with the development of the rodent bariatric surgery capability.  The striking reduction in co-morbidities associated with bariatric surgery have led Vanderbilt’s Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Core to work on the development of bariatric surgery models in the mouse.  Preliminary funding has been provided by an ARRA supplement, and the VM-NORC Animal Core will maintain this resource following the end of the supplement.  The long-term goal will be to improve our understanding of the effects of bariatric surgery in order to ultimately be able to develop pharmacological surrogates for surgery.


Drs. Buchowski and Silver provide valuable expertise to most of the clinical research directions discussed here through their expertise in physical activity and nutrition.