The Institute for Obesity Research and Program Evaluation at Texas A&M University was established in 2007 to conduct research and facilitate research collaborations and partnerships to improve health and help prevent the increased incidence of obesity and co-morbidities in the state of Texas and beyond. This is the stated vision of the Institute, but in order to realize this vision, an organized plan needed to be developed and implemented.
The Institute’s plan involves a two-pronged approach, combining elements of basic and applied laboratory research, as well as the evaluation of programs and health-related interventions that can reach and impact people in specific communities. These two approaches were never intended to be separate and isolated from each other. On the contrary, the goal is to allow each to inform and enrich the other through communication of ideas and findings, so as to more effectively and efficiently translate our research results to those we serve.
Within the Institute are offices and meeting space, plus laboratory facilities to conduct (a) in-vitro and in-vivo experiments that observe the effects of specific bioactive food molecules on cell signaling, gene expression, and obesity-related biomarkers; (b) value-added food and beverage product development and testing, and (c) sensory evaluation of foods formulated with satiety-modulating ingredients.
By mid-2010 the Institute had attracted over $2 million in research funding, and has established research collaborations and contracts with federal, state and local agencies, as well as with industry and clinical partners. The Institute is served by its Director, Associate Director, Director for Scientific Research, Director for Program Evaluation, affiliated research faculty, office staff, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate students.
- Peter S. Murano, Director