Weight: What’s a gene got to do with it?

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Jeanne McCaffery (left) speaks to students in her research group about their project. (Kevin Noonan / CAHNR photo)

Many factors contribute to weight gain and loss. There are behavioral and environmental aspects, such as what types of food and how much people choose to eat or the amount of physical exercise they get.

Genetics may also be involved, based on past investigations by Department of Allied Health Sciences Associate Professor Jeanne McCaffery and other researchers. Genetic variants may influence individual dietary preferences, the ability to lose weight and, possibly, susceptibility to obesity-related health problems.

The genetics of eating behavior and the genetics of weight loss are central to several of McCaffery’s research projects in her 15 years of continuous National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Ultimately, her work may be useful in treating obesity, which is a known risk factor in type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Continue reading

CAHNR in the news

newsprintWTOP radio posted an article about why more college football players die during workouts than NFL players. Department of Kinesiology Professor Douglas Casa answered the question of why he thinks that is true.  He was also heard on air in two clips.

UConn Today included a photo spread of UConn Science Salon Jr., which was featured STEM experiments geared toward 5- to 12-year olds. Daniel Bowdler, a natural resources and the environment graduate student, was depicted with his son, a participant. Department of Extension Program Coordinator in Windham Marc Cournoyer was a LEGO Mindstorm kit programming instructor for the event.

The Daily Campus reported that several student groups asked the UConn presidential search committee to look for presidential candidates, who demonstrate a commitment to environmental sustainability. The letter was written by CAHNR environmental studies student and Undergraduate Student Government Governing Board Vice President Wawa Gatheru.

By Patsy Evans

Awards and achievements in CAHNR

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Judy Brown (left) and Linda Pescatello, recipients of Faculty Excellence in Teaching Awards (G.J. McCarthy / UConn Foundation)

The UConn Foundation Office of Alumni Relations recently recognized the outstanding contributions and achievements of two CAHNR faculty members with Faculty Excellence Awards.

Department of Allied Health Sciences Associate Professor in Residence Judy Brown received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award on the Undergraduate Level.

The Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award on the Graduate Level went to Department of Kinesiology Distinguished Professor Linda Pescatello.

According to the UConn Alumni website, “The Faculty Excellence in Teaching Awards are given to individual faculty for excellence in teaching. These awards recognize individuals who rise above good instruction, engage students thoroughly in the process of learning, and have contributed significantly to the intellectual life of the University through their teaching. Individuals who are nominated for this award must have a distinguished record of sustained teaching excellence and must have worked at UConn for at least 10 years.”

Brown and Pescatello were honored with medals and a monetary reward. They were recognized at the Faculty Awards Reception and the Endowed Faculty Reception both held on October 25 in Hartford.

By Patsy Evans