All conference attendees are encouraged to come to the TOS Opening Session, where the best of the best is showcased. This awards program is more than handshakes and plaques! It’s the most exciting research in the field today, and features can’t-miss presentations from masters in the field of obesity. The session also includes the Early Career Grant Challenge, where you, the audience, help select the most promising grant proposal based on five minute presentations. The TOS Opening Session is a lot of fun, featuring a cash bar and a live band. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem session!

2017 George A. Bray Founders Award Presentation

Congratulations to this recipient for significant contributions that advanced the scientific or clinical basis for understanding or treating obesity and for extensive involvement with The Obesity Society. This year’s recipient is:
Diana Thomas, Ph.D, FTOS, United States Military Academy

2017 George A. Bray Master’s Thesis and Doctoral Dissertation Awards Presentation

Congratulations to these two students honored for their complete master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation (respectively) that was successfully defended in the current year, based on: significance, relevance/potential impact in the field of obesity, scientific methodology, writing quality, overall approach and scope and innovation. This year’s recipients are:
Dissertation Recipient: Kristin Hoddy, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago
Thesis Recipient: Monica Saumoy, MD, Weill Cornell Medicine

2017 Early Career Research Grant

This program (formerly, New Investigator Research Grants) is offered by The Obesity Society as a member service to foster and stimulate new research ideas in any area of investigation related to obesity. The following junior-level investigator or postdoctoral trainee who will be awarded up to $25,000 for their research is:
Lauren Stein, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

2017 Weight Watchers Karen Miller-Kovach Research Grant Presentation

Weight Watchers and The Obesity Society have partnered to create the Karen Miller-Kovach Research Grant. The grant is $50,000 and focuses on the development of digital tools that employ evidence-based behavioral weight management strategies. The purpose of the grant is to help investigators collect pilot data to successfully compete for larger extramural funding.
Congratulations to this year’s recipient:
Recipient: Brooke Nezami, PhD, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

2017 Early Career Grant Challenge

For the third year in a row, the TOS Opening Session will feature the Early Career Grant Challenge competition offered by The Obesity Society (TOS) as a member service to foster and stimulate new research ideas related to obesity. Four finalists have been selected from early career member applications to pitch their research ideas on stage during this session. Each finalist will have five minutes to present their proposal. A panel of judges, as well as the audience, will select the winner who will receive a $25,000 research grant. This year’s finalists are:
Jeremie Ferey, PhD, Washington University
Kara Marlatt, PhD, Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Emily Noble, PhD, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Natasha Schvey, PhD, Uniformed Services University

2017 Rolls-Simons Travel Grants

The Rolls-Simons Travel Grant is part of The Obesity Society’s commitment to young investigators in the field of obesity research. This award was established by TOS Past President, Barbara Rolls and provides travel grants for TOS students and post-doctoral members. Eight recipients each receive a $1,000 prize for travel to ObesityWeek. Congratulations to:
Andrew Demidowich, MD, National Institutes of Health
Yoroko Heianza, PhD, Tulane University
Valentina Ivezaj, PhD, Yale School of Medicine
Joo Yun Jun, PhD, National Institutes of Health
Travis Masterson, Pennsylvania State University
Anarina Murillo, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Vidhu Thaker, MD, Columbia University Medical Center
Andrew Uhlman, National Institutes of Health

2017 Egg Nutrition Center Grant

This travel grant is sponsored by the Egg Nutrition Center and supports studies designed to look at the impact of macronutrient composition on overweight and obesity related conditions (i.e., insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, etc.). Five recipients each receive a $1,000 prize for travel to ObesityWeek. This year’s recipients are:
Juliana Cohen, ScD, Merrimack College
Joseph Frankl, University of Arizona
Jasper Most, PhD, Pennington Biomedical Research Center
Vanessa Oddo, PhD, University of Washington
Caitlin Smith, Oklahoma State University

2017 Early Career Travel Grant

This travel grant award supports early career investigators in their efforts to contribute to the field of obesity. Each recipient receives a $1,000 prize for travel to ObesityWeek. Congratulations to:
Ariano Chao, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
David Saxon, MD, University of Colorado

Presentation Schedule:


5:40pm Maternal Obesity Disrupts Cardiac Mitochondrial Morphology and Sensitizes Offspring to Cardiovascular Disease
Jeremie L Ferey, PhD
5:47pm Novel Approach to Assess Metabolic Flexibility in a Respiratory Chamber
Kara L Marlatt, PhD MPH
5:54pm Effects of Early Life Sugar Consumption on Memory Function During Adulthood
Emily E Noble, PhD
6:01pm Weight Stigma Among Adolescents With Overweight and Obesity: An Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) Study
Natasha A Schvey, PhD
6:25pm Predicting Long-term Weight Change From Short-term Data: Insights From Machine Learning
Diana M Thomas, PhD