Virginia Tech®home

About the Obesity Center

  The Translational Obesity Research Center was chartered in December 2012 under the Fralin Life Sciences Institute.  The center founding directors, Dr. Kevin Davy and Dr. Paul Estabrooks, are faculty in Human Nutrition, Foods & Exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  Dr. Estabrooks is also a professor of Family Medicine in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. 

    In line with the land-grant mission of Virginia Tech, the center’s mission is to improve health and quality of life to the people in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the nation.  More than one-third of adults in the US are obese, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Other causes of death such as heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer are related to the effects of obesity. 

    The center’s translational approach is unique; scientists from a variety of backgrounds including human nutrition, exercise science, psychology, cancer biology, economics, and human development receive support to explore collaborative, translational projects with the goal of completing meaningful obesity research that is able to influence public health and to find solutions to societal issues related to obesity prevention and treatment

    The center was developed around a number of successful collaborative teams and includes approximately 30 affiliated Virginia Tech and Carilion Clinic investigators.  These teams span the spectrum from basic science to practice and implementation science to policy enactment.

    The center also includes the Translational Obesity Interdisciplinary Graduate Education Program (IGEP).  The IGEP is the academic arm of the center mission, which trains the next generation of scientists to use translational and interdisciplinary research methods to find solutions to the complex obesity problem.  

Specialty research areas:


Human nutrition

Exercise science

Food and psychology

Obesity and cancer

Food Economics

Childhood obesity

Food and the gut microbiome

Obesity and skeletal muscle