Science of obesity is the focus of molecular biology Summer Symposium

University Park, Pa. -- Three free public lectures are part of the 28th Summer Symposium in Molecular Biology, an event hosted by the Faculty of the Summer Symposium in Molecular Biology and administered by the Penn State Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. This year's symposium, titled "Nutrition, Genes, and Physical Activity: Understanding Obesity from Conception and Beyond," will be held in 100 Life Sciences Building on the Penn State University Park campus from Aug. 11 to 14.

The first public lecture, titled "Nutrigenomics and Obesity: Implications for Public Health," is the symposium's inaugural Address and will be given by John Milner, chief of the Nutritional Science Research Group at the National Cancer Institute, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11. Milner's talk will focus on the multiple molecular pathways that are involved in weight gain and appetite regulation, and on the need for greater understanding of these pathways in order to curb the rising incidence of obesity and, thus, the diseases that are linked to obesity.

The second public lecture, titled "Nutritional Systems Biology Approaches in Understanding the Role of Diet as a Modifying Factor in Determining the Obese Phenotype," is the symposium's keystone address and will be given by Ben van Ommen, executive director of the European Nutrigenomics Organisation, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m. Van Ommen will discuss the strategies and technologies that scientists use to understand the physiological responses to the consumption of excess calories, which, ultimately, can lead to insulin resistance, cardiovascular complications, and other obesity-related problems.

The third public lecture, titled "High Satiety: Eating Less in an Obesogenic Environment," is the symposium's capstone address and will be given by Barbara Rolls, a Penn State professor and the Guthrie Chair in nutritional sciences, at 10:50 a.m. on Friday, Aug 14. Rolls will discuss how the addition of high-volume, water-rich foods could be a strategy to help prevent and treat obesity.

The Summer Symposium in Molecular Biology is an internationally recognized event that provides an important forum both for the exchange of information between academic and industrial scientists and for graduate education. Since its inception in 1982, the symposium has been an outreach effort of the Eberly College of Science with support from many academic units at Penn State and a variety of corporate sponsors.

A list of the 22 invited speakers, a program schedule, and walk-in registration information can be found at http://www.symposium.psu.edu online. For more information, e-mail symposium@psu.edu or call (814) 863-5487.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010