New York Nutrition Obesity Research Center Research Initiatives

The NYNORC leadership in consultation with our Internal and External Advisory Committees has identified several research areas to cultivate.  Working in cooperation with Einstein and Columbia and with our the strong backing of our philanthropic supporters we have undertaken three initiatives to expand the research programs of the NYNORC.  

Russell Berrie Foundation Initiative in Neuroscience of Obesity (RBFINO):  Launched in 2017, the RBFINO has convened researchers with the goal of bringing neuroscientists to the study of body weight regulation and feeding behavior, while introducing metabolic scientists to the latest techniques and research in neuroscience.  Through the generosity of the Russell Berrie Foundation and spearheaded by Charles Zuker and Rudy Leibel, the RBFINO issued a year series of requests for applications to study the neuroscience of obesity.  The program now supports more than a dozen research project, many of which are collaborations, and has achieved a primary goal with several of the initial project being extended through external funding.   

Cancer-Obesity Cooperative Program (COCP): Obesity is a predisposing factor in the development and progression of more than a dozen cancers and while epidemiologic evidence is strong for the association the underlying mechanisms remain largely obscure.  In cooperation with the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center the leadership of the NYNORC launched the COCP in 2019 and began funding of its first jointly supported research project in 2020.  In a manner comparable to the RBFINO, this program’s goals are to bring together cancer and metabolic researchers to study the interface of oncology and obesity. 

Obesity & Infectious Disease Initiative (OIDI):  Although obesity has long been recognized as a risk factor for many bacterial, viral and parasitic infectious diseases the underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown.  The SARS-CoV2 pandemic has brought to the fore the need to better understand the relationships between obesity and infectious diseases.  When New York City emerged as an early epicenter of the pandemic, the NYNORC in collaboration with our clinical partners (New York-Presbyterian and Montefiore) undertook a program to study the metabolic phenotypes and COVID19 disease.  These efforts have led to early findings and publications.  The NYNORC leadership has convene researchers to further these studies and is working to secure external funding in support of these studies.