UCSF Nutrition Obesity Research Center

Investigator: Christian Vaisse, MD, PhD
Sponsor: NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Location(s): United States


The proposed UCSF-NORC will be a highly integrated community of researchers spanning the spectrum from basic research through to the clinical implementation of new treatments. To achieve that, the NORC will supply, coordinate and oversee facilities and programs that bring the researchers together. Once implemented, the NORC is projected to increase the cohesiveness, and enhance the visibility, of the already strong nutrition, obesity and metabolism research at UCSF and thereby enable the development of outstanding, cutting-edge and multi-disciplinary studies.

The proposed UCSF NORC will integrate multiple research programs in multiple areas of nutrition, obesity and metabolism. Over the last twelve years, UCSF has actively expanded its research base in this critical subject area. Today, that research base is very robust but with an administrative and facilities infrastructure that reflects the diversity of the departmental processes that expanded this program. The proposed NORC will provide a cohesive programmatic, administrative and shared facilities infrastructure that will integrate the already strong nutrition, obesity and metabolism research conducted at UCSF and that will provide a framework for its coordinated growth. The UCSF NORC will include cellular, animal, translational, clinical and epidemiologic directions. Despite this breath, these programs are highly interactive with extensive collaborations amongst even the most divergent of programs. For example, radiologists collaborate with clinical scientists to non-invasively visualize metabolism in humans. Human geneticists collaborate with cellular and animal researchers to investigate hypotheses more tractable in those systems. Behavioral scientists coordinate with nutritionists to search for ways to improve outcomes. In all, the 44 interdisciplinary investigators within the UCSF-NORC will consist of a mixture of senior and early stage investigators with a collective 60 NIH grants (100 grants total). Their collective goal will be to define the underlying mechanisms of disease and to significantly contribute to the prevention and treatment of obesity and its complications. The purpose of the UCSF-NORC will be to promote and grow research in obesity, nutrition, and metabolism at UCSF and throughout northern California. This will be realized by: Maintaining, improving, and promoting the interactions and collaborations of researchers in the field with each other and with those outside the field. Supporting the maintenance and evolution of state-of-the-art Research Cores to meet the needs of obesity, nutrition, and metabolism research. Facilitating the development of new research directions and the entry of new researchers into the field via Pilot & Feasibility opportunities. Enriching the NORC research community through pertinent educational forums and other venues that support the development and maintenance of research interactions. Integrating administrative support to ensure that the infrastructure meets the needs of the local obesity, nutrition and metabolism research community.