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Obesity Conference Features Nutrition Scientist from School of Veterinary Medicine

February 22, 2011

UC Davis News Service

February 22, 2011

More than 100 researchers, health professionals, students, policymakers and community members interested in reducing and preventing obesity and related diseases will gather Thursday, March 17, at the University of California, Davis, for a one-day symposium focused on sugar consumption and its impact on human health.

New and unpublished data, all pointing to converging evidence that sugar is at the root of many modern disease epidemics, will be presented and discussed, according to conference coordinators.

The one-day conference is part of a University of California Office of the President collaboration between UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco to promote cutting-edge research on obesity. It is funded by the University of California.

This year's symposium, titled "Sugar Highs and Lows: Dietary Sugars, the Brain, and Metabolic Outcomes" will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in UC Davis' Walter A. Buehler Alumni and Visitors Center. The registration fee is $25 person for the general public and $10 per person for students.

During the symposium, research leaders from across the country will discuss scientific evidence that demonstrates potential health effects of consuming sugar and sugar-sweetened beverages.

Furthermore, renowned neurobiologists and clinicians will discuss some of the challenges and possible solutions related to reducing sugar consumption.

UC Davis speakers during the symposium will be nutrition researcher Kimber Stanhope, who studies the impact of sugar on human metabolism, and American studies scholar Carolyn de la Pena, author of the book "Empty Pleasures: The Story of Artificial Sweeteners from Saccharin to Splenda." Stanhope is based in the School of Veterinary Medicine's Department of Molecular Biosciences. De la Pena's research has focused on the cultural side of health and the industries created to deliver artificial sweeteners.

The other symposium speakers will be from the University of Michigan, Yale University, Oregon Research Institute, University of Washington, University of Colorado and UC San Francisco.

Helping to organize the event is Peter Havel of the Department of Molecular Biosciences in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Havel, an expert on metabolism and endocrinology, is an investigator on a multi-campus grant awarded by the University of California Office of the President to promote collaboration across campuses and lead to larger cooperative projects such as Program Project Grants. The $500,000, 5-year project concerns an initiative on "Stress, Socioeconomic Status, and Obesity," by which UCSF, UC Berkeley and UC Davis scientists will perform research, develop new proposals and hold annual scientific conferences where experts can share new knowledge about obesity. 

More information and registration are available online at <>.

Recent studies from Havel and Stanhope: Study may explain how weight-loss surgery reverses type 2 diabetes 

Different sugars affect the body in different ways