• Dan River Region Partnering for Obesity Planning and Sustainability (POPS): Jamie Zoellner and Paul Estabrooks led a successful application in response to a recent RFA from the National Institute of Minority Health and Disparities focused on community-based participatory research approaches to eliminate health disparities. The team includes community partners from the Danville Pittsylvania Health District, Children's Healthcare Center, Danville Parks Recreation & Tourism, and Boys & Girls Club. The 3-year project will assess community capacity to develop, implement, and sustain a childhood obesity reduction initiative in the Dan River Region. Jennie Hill, Madlyn Frisard, and Wen You are co-investigators on the study and will contribute their expertise to environmental, biological, and economic factors, respectively, to the development and testing of the new interventions. 
  • Paul Estabrooks and Kevin Davy were approved to charter the Fralin Translational Obesity Research Center as a research center at Virginia Tech. This new center will be formally administered as an "institute-level" center within the Fralin Life Sciences Institute. The new center holds promise for significantly enhancing Virginia Tech's research efforts in obesity research.
  • Graduate student Serena Parks was featured in the Office of Diversity's fall issue of The Path Forward (page 10).



  • George Davis and Debby Good research featured on Virginia Tech News: In a first of its kind study that shows environmental conditions can be more influential than genetics, George and Debby found that the cost of food, and not genetic makeup, is a major factor in eating fattening food. Their study, which was recently published in The Open Neuroendocrinology Journal, suggests that economic environments could be altered to help counteract the obesity epidemic plaguing more than one-third of Americans.


  • Pint-size molecules show promise against obesity: "Scientists know the best health solution for obesity involves eating less and exercising more," said Matt Hulver. "But in cases when people can’t or won’t exercise, if we can identify what is contributing to the regulation of our metabolic circuits, we can target it with a drug or pharmacologic solution."
  • Melanie Staples: CALS's September "Employee of the Month"




  • Angie Worrell is CAL's "Employee of the Month" for June.
  • Jay Williams is Scholar of the Week for June 25th.
  • Brenda Davy was named to the Scientific Advisory Board for WellBalance, a leading health organization that runs weight loss summer camps for adolescents ages 10 - 20. She has agreed to provide recommendations to WellBalance for improving a client's overall health through better teen diet, physical activity, and weight management strategies. Her expertise in improvement of weight loss diet and health behaviors will be beneficial to WellBalance customers on their journey towards meeting their summer weight loss camp and health goals. Read more...
  • Dottie Havlik, Nutrition Outreach Instructor with the Family Nutrition Program, received FNP's 2012 Bronze Award for outstanding work in the area of partnership and volunteer development. In a combined effort to reduce the increasing obesity rate in Southwest Virginia, Dottie partners with schools, churches, and organizations to reach limited-income families with healthy lifestyle information. Trained volunteers address such topics as smart, thrifty, and safe food choices; budget friendly nutritious meals; and adding activities into the daily routine. Dottie is located at the Abingdon Food Bank at 21452 Gravel Lake Road and can be reached at 276-628-9266 ext. 8008.



  • Rob Grange was notified that his review on exercise and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, "Exercise and duchenne muscular dystrophy: Toward evidence-based exercise prescription" was one of the top 10 downloads in 2011 from Muscle and Nerve. Rob's co-authors were Dr. Chad Markert from Wake Forest, Dr. Faby Ambrosio from the University of Pittsburgh, and his former Master's student, Dr. Jarrod Call, who completed his Ph.D at the University of Minnesota (a current post doc at UVa).
  • Paul Estabrooks and collaborates just had an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The article highlights the role behavior and psychosocial issues play in preventable deaths and disability as well as in the escalating health care costs in the US.
  • Paul Estabrooks organized a Featured Symposium at the Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting in New Orleans with  Russ Glasgow and Brad Hesse from the National Cancer Institute and Alex Krist from VCU. The symposium highlighted their work on identifying and implementing actionable information on behaviors such as physical activity and dietary intake, for use in electronic health records. View their presentations. 
  • Renee Selberg-Eaton and husband Kent welcomed baby Leah Danielle on April 10!
  • Sallie Beth Johnson, an incoming graduate student, received the ICTAS Doctoral Scholar Award. She will be working with Paul Estabrooks.


  • Heather Cox received the Distinguished Dietitian of the Year Award for Virginia at the annual VDA meeting. The award is the VDA's highest honor and recognizes outstanding service and leadership in the field of dietetics over an extended period of time in Virginia.
  • The Zoellner-Hill Community Behavioral Lab launched the Dan River Partnership for a Healthy Community (DRPHC) website to the Dan River community and showcased their research. The DRPHC has spent the past two years implementing physical activity and nutrition projects that provide valuable information to better understand obesity and provide healthy lifestyle initiatives for residents to make healthy choices. The Dan River Region boasts some of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in the state.
  • HNFE honored the 2012 Outstanding Alumni at the annual CALS Alumni Banquet:
    • Catherine Woteki (‘72 MS, ‘75 PhD) is the Outstanding Alumna.
    • Sean Heffron ('03, MS) is the Outstanding Recent Alumnus.
    • Heather Cox ('97 BS, '08 MS) won the Outstanding Alumni Leadership Award.
  • Congratulations to Jessica Schultz: She received the 2012 Outstanding Senior award from CALS and HNFE.
  • Congratulations to Kacie Allen, who was accepted into Iota Delta Rho, the Interdisciplinary Research Honor Society as a full member.


  • Elena Serrano, George Davis, and Jane Machin (MKTG) were awarded support from the Intergenerational Obesity Initiative. The award will fund a qualitative pilot study designed to understand how consumers (mothers and mothers-to-be) interpret and use the point of purchase and front of package label of "natural" food and drink products.


  • Madlyn Frisard, Brenda Davy, Paul Estabrooks, Julie Dunsmore (PSY), and David Berry (LewisGale) Proposal Accepted
    The Intergenerational Obesity Initiative has awarded the group $15,000 to fund preliminary work on the development and implementation of a campus-community pediatric weight management program. The award comes through The Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment and the Fralin Life Sciences Institute.
  • Janet Rankin quoted in CNN article: "How to get your metabolism moving
  • Susan Hutson interviewed for American Society of Nutrition Highlights: A Conversation with ASN's Public Policy Committee (PPC) Chair Susan Hutson, PhD, and Director of Government Relations, Sarah Ohlhorst, MS, RD
  • Alumni Matt Hickey Receives Award
    Hickey, a professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State, received the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities Undergraduate Research Mentor Award Nov. 13 at the APLU annual conference in San Francisco. He received his masters in Exercise Physiology in 1990.