Colorado State University Hosts Leading Scientist’s Lecture on New Approaches to Treating Obesity

Colorado State University will bring a leading scientist to campus Nov. 4 for a talk titled "Management of Obesity: New Pathways, New Approaches and New Challenges."

The lecture, held at 7 p.m. in Room A102 Clark Building, will feature L. Arthur Campfield, professor of medicine and associate director for research from the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver. In his talk, Campfield will address emerging issues in pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches to treating obesity. The lecture is free and open to the public.

"Dr. Campfield is a world-class expert on potential treatments of obesity," said Matt Hickey, assistant professor of health and exercise science within the university’s College of Applied Human Sciences. "His lecture directly relates to the obesity research being carried out at Colorado State. Our department will have the opportunity to move research to a new level in the university’s state-of-the-art Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory. The new lab will directly interact with the public in the search for a treatment of obesity."

Hickey is a member of the Leptin Research Interest Group at Colorado State, an interdisciplinary faculty group studying the physiology of obesity and energy balance in humans and animals. The group focuses on the role of leptin, a protein linked to obesity that may regulate eating behavior.

Leptin has been studied with increasing intensity since its discovery in 1994. Leptin is secreted from fat tissue and is thought to act as a signal to tell the brain the condition of body energy stores. The level of leptin circulating in the blood shows a high correlation to the amount of fat in the body. Normally, when leptin increases, a signal goes to the brain that reduces appetite and maintains proper body weight. Some people may build up a resistance to leptin, which may contribute to obesity.

The university’s commitment to obesity research also is clear through its recent nomination of Kevin Davy, assistant professor in health and exercise science, for the National Science Foundation’s Alan T. Waterman Award. The award recognizes an outstanding young researcher in any field of science or engineering. Davy’s research focuses on the role of the sympathetic nervous system in the development of obesity.

Campfield’s talk is part of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American College of Sports Medicine fall lecture series and is jointly sponsored by the department of health and exercise science at Colorado State. Before joining the Center for Human Nutrition in April 1999, Campfield was a distinguished research leader in the department of metabolic diseases research at Hoffman-La Roche, Inc., in Nutley, N.J., where he led a research group actively involved in the discovery and development of new medicines for obesity.

Campfield’s recent research has focused on leptin. Other recent work has focused on the pharmacological inhibition of fat absorption as an approach to the treatment of obesity.

For more information, call Matt Hickey at (970) 491-5727.