Research

Children's Nutrition Research Center News

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Recent CNRC Member Highlights

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Alvin Tak, a University of Houston student currently engaged in research within Michael Dzakovich's lab has been selected as an IRTA (Intramural Research Training Award) scholar.  Alvin will dedicate the upcoming year to conducting studies in Dr. John Ngai's laboratory, with a specific focus on olfactory nerve regeneration. With ambitions of becoming a clinician-scientist, Alvin is determined to pursue a dual M.D./Ph.D. program in neuroscience. (February 2024)

Kristine

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Dr. Kristine McDermott, a fellow in Dr. Xu’s lab here at the CNRC, has been selected as the Trainee Representative for the Neuroscience Section of The Obesity Society (TOS). In this role, Kristine will play a key part in shaping the 2024 TOS meeting as a member of the leadership board. (December 2023)

Yongxiang

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Yongxiang Li, a CNRC post-doc in Dr. Xu’s lab was recently awarded an American Diabetes Association Postdoctoral Fellowship (1-24-PDF-56) for his project “Treating obesity caused by TRPC5 deficiency” (January 2024). This prestigious fellowship serves as a testament to his dedication in advancing our understanding of diabetes and its management. (December 2023)

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Dr. More Haymond, a distinguished professor emeritus at Baylor College of Medicine, has received the 2023 Mayo Clinic Distinguished Alumni Award. He defined the regulation of leucine and protein metabolism, and his use of minidose glucagon and dosing algorithm are now common practice in pediatric and diabetes practice. The award was established in 1981 by the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees to acknowledge and show appreciation for exceptional contributions of Mayo Clinic alumni to medicine. (November 2023)

Yong

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Yong Xu, Ph.D. received the BCM 2023 Michael E. Debakey Excellence In Research Award. (October 2023) 

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Alexis Wood, Ph.D. was invited to be Chair of the Nutritional Epidemiology Research Interest Section at ASN (3-year term, currently Chair-elect). (October 2023)

Teresia

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Teresia O’Connor, M.D., M.P.H., has been selected to be a mentor for the APS/SPR Journeys and Frontiers in Pediatric Research program (2023/2024). The national program is for early career pediatric researchers nominated by their chairs to receive career mentoring, feedback on research, and networking with experienced pediatric researchers in academia. (October 2023)
 

Jayna

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Jayna Dave, Ph.D., has been elected to the Society of Pediatric Research. (October 2023)

 

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Mengjie (Emma) Wang, from Dr. Xu's lab recently received an F32 award from NIH-NICHD (1F32HD112123-01A) for her project "Nutrition Regulates Sexual Function." This award will support her research and certainly help advance her career. Congrats!

Stephanie

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Stephanie Sisley, an associate professor at the CNRC and a specialist in pediatric endocrinology and obesity medicine, highlighted in her New York Times interview that pediatric obesity doesn't have a dedicated treatment specialty, posing challenges in assigning responsibility and securing an adequate number of physicians to address the problem effectively. 

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Dr. Nancy E. Moran, an assistant professor here at the CNRC, offered her expert insights on the health advantages of the tomato carotenoid, lycopene, in a recent article featured in The New York Times.

Stephanie

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In a Science article, Dr. Stephanie Sisley, who has recently been promoted to the position of Associate Professor (congratulations), recounts her personal journey of reevaluating her approach to work-life balance. Her narrative sheds light on the significance of professional connections and the unanticipated assistance that can arise during life's toughest trials.
 

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Dr. Hesong Liu, a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Yong Xu’s lab from the CNRC has been selected as a recipient of an NIH Pathway to Independence Award for her project entitled: “A 5-HTergic DRN vCA1 circuit and Alzheimer’s disease.” Dr. Hui Zheng from the Huffington Center on Aging is the co-mentor. (July 2023)

Yong

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Dr. Yong Xu was a part of a collaborative study "Serotonin 2C receptor associated with obesity and maladaptive behavior" involving Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Cambridge and the University of Exeter Medical School. The study was highlighted in a BCM press release along with being published in Nature Medicine journal on Dec. 19, 2022. After the release, the research was additionally acknowledged by the following news websites: Mirage News and Nature Reviews Endocrinology. View the BCM press release.

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Dr. Heba El Ayash, M.D.,  post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Fida Bacha’s Lab at the CNRC, was invited to present her work on “Incretins and cardiac autonomic function in youth with obesity across the glycemia spectrum”, at the Texas Children’s Fellows Research Symposium on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.   Her work was selected as one of the top five abstracts for Oral Presentation at the Symposium. Congratulations! (February 2023)

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Dr. Kristine McDermott (Conde), a CNRC post-doc in Dr. Xu’s lab was awarded an F32 from NIH-NIDDK (1F32DK134121) for her project "5-HT Neurons and Meal Regulation" (February 2023)

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Nancy E. Moran, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, was elected to serve as the co-vice chair for the Gordon Carotenoid Research Conference. This international, multidisciplinary scientific conference is held every two years to address the biology and chemistry of carotenoids and carotenoid derivatives across microorganisms, plants and mammals, including humans. Gordon conferences focus on advancing the frontiers of science through the presentation of unpublished research and by prioritizing discussion and interactions among scientists of all career stages. Moran’s co-vice chair is Li Li, Ph.D. of the USDA/ARS Robert Holley Center for Agriculture and Health at Cornell University. (January 2023)

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The American Pediatric Society announced 95 new members, including three from the Children's Nutrition Research Center. Society members are recognized child health leaders of extraordinary achievement who work together to shape the future of academic pediatrics. New members will be recognized during the APS Presidential Plenary April 29 at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2023 Meeting. Listed below as pictured top to bottom.

  • Dr. Sheryl Hughes, professor of pediatrics – nutrition 
  • Dr. Teresia O’Connor (middle), associate professor of pediatrics and associate director for human sciences at the CNRC
  • Dr. Yong Xu (bottom), professor of pediatrics and associate director for basic sciences at the CNRC

(January 2023)

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  • Doug Burrin Ph.D. received the 2023 Bruce Bistrian Nutrition Mentorship Award from the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
  • Doug Burrin Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at BCM and research physiologist at the Agricultural Research Services, received the 2023 Senior Scientist of the Year Award from the Agricultural Research Services

(January 2023)

Yongxiang

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Dr. Yongxiang Li, a CNRC post-doc in Dr. Xu’s lab was awarded Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from American Heart Association (AHA, 23POST1030526) for his project "Trpc5 and Obesity" (January 2023).

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Dr. Hailan Liu, a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Yong Xu lab from the CNRC was awarded the postdoctoral fellowship Award from American Heart Association (AHA, 23POST1030352) for her project "A Cold-sensitive Neuronal Population Regulates Energy and Thermal Homeostasis." (January 2023).

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CNRC Member Highlights

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Jennette

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Jennette Moreno, Ph.D. was accepted as a member of the Society of Pediatric Research. (October 2022)

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Dr. Miao-Hsueh Chen, associate professor of pediatrics – nutrition, has been awarded a 2022-2023 BCM Cardiovascular Research Institute Pilot award for her proposal, "Lineage and molecular analyses of the cardiac origin of brown adipocytes." (Sept. 16 2022)

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Dr. Salma Musaad, associate professor of pediatrics – nutrition, has been awarded a National Institutes of Health AIM-AHEAD Fellowship Program in Leadership grant for her proposal, "Using Machine Learning to Investigate Intervention Effect Disparities and Digital Phenotypes Among Black Girls; Brain #67674-I." (BCM Faculty News, Sept. 8, 2022)

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Dr. Lucas Tu, a postdoctoral associate in Dr. Yong Xu’s lab, has been selected as a recipient of a 2022 Trainee Professional Development Award from the Society for Neuroscience. (Sept. 7, 2022)

Teresa

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Teresa Davis Ph.D. was elected President of the American Society of Animal Science for the year starting July 14, 2022 through July 20, 2023.

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Margaret Raber, DR.P.H., M.P.H received a one-year award from the Texas Children's Hospital Pediatric Pilot Research Fund for the study “Project LAUNCH: the development of a skill-based, digital nutrition program to launch low-income high-schoolers into healthy adulthood”. During this one-year project, Dr. Raber will work with Texas Children's faculty from the Mobile Clinic Program (Sanghamitra Misra, M.D., and Cassandra Duran, DNP, RN) to engage students and staff from a local charter school in the development of an online nutrition education program,. July 2022

Stephanie Sisley, M.D., received a R01 from NIH-NIDDK (R01DK128117-01A1) for her project “Brain VDR Regulate Glucose Balance,” (4/5/2022-3/31/2027). June 2022

Dr. Sheryl Hughes and colleagues’ article was selected as the 2022 Best Article in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. They showed that parents who took part in a childhood obesity prevention program for parents and their Head Start children (SEEDS) prevention parents reported healthier feeding practices and their children were less likely to have overweight or obesity compared to controls at the 12-month follow-up. June 2022

Alli Antar, Ph.D., received a one-year award from the Texas Children's Hospital Pediatric Pilot Research Fund for the study “Dissecting the Role of ChREBP in Brown Adipose Tissue.”  The goal of this one-year project is to identify new, nutrient-sensitive targets that regulate whole-body energy expenditure and glucose metabolism in order to develop novel treatments for pediatric patients at increased risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as associated pathologies. June 2022

Chishinga Callender, MS, senior research coordinator for Dr. Deb Thompson’s research team, was awarded the Outstanding Abstract by a Student Member Award and Meritorious Award for her abstract entitled, "The Perspectives of Black Mothers on Factors Influencing Dietary Choices in their Families and Communities" by the Society of Behavioral Medicine Child and Family Health Special Interest Group. April 2022

Erica Soltero, Ph.D. was selected as a fellow to the Obesity Health Disparities- PRIDE (Programs to Increase Diversity Among Individuals Engage in Health-Related Research) training program funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The goal of this two-year program is to provide early-career faculty with mentorship, training, and funding opportunities to establish independence in a research area that addresses obesity disparities. June 2022

Teresia O’Connor, M.D., MPH was elected to the Society of Pediatric Research Council from the specialty area of public health and epidemiology. She will serve on the council for a three-year term beginning June, 2022.

Teresa Davis, Ph.D. is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nutrition (Jan. 1, 2014 - Dec. 31, 2023)