Thinking Big about Obesity

Thinking Big about Obesity:
Building Team Science Initiatives at UConn and UConn Health

A free, full-day workshop with associated grant funding opportunities

Rare Opportunity: Event facilitated by three leading scientific experts from the NIH

Monday, April 28, 2014

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Rome Commons Ballroom, UConn Storrs Campus
Breakfast, lunch, and free parking

Does your research focus on obesity?
Does your research have obesity-related applications?
Are you looking to break into the field of obesity research?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, we want you!

Join the CICATS/CHIP Obesity Research Interest Group (ORIG) for an exciting full-day workshop aimed at developing transdisciplinary collaborations in obesity research. Whether you’re new to obesity research or have been doing it for decades, whether you’re a tenured professor, graduate student, or community partner — we encourage you to attend. Led by team science experts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), morning presentations will feature key concepts, trends, and funding mechanisms in collaborative team science, and afternoon breakout sessions will allow active, facilitated group work to develop obesity team science project proposals. The event will conclude with a panel discussion on challenges, opportunities, and resources for team science at UConn/UConn Health.

Who should attend

This event is open to anyone interested in obesity research. Faculty, post-docs, clinicians, research staff, community partners, and graduate students are all welcome. Participants with no official affiliation with UConn/UConn Health are also welcome.



Note: If you are unable to commit to the full day, you are welcome to come and go as necessary.

8:00 – 9:00 AM Registration and continental breakfast
9:00 – 9:10 AM Introductory remarks
Amy Gorin (UConn)
9:10 – 10:10 AM Key concepts and trends in team science
Michelle Bennett (NIH) and Howard Gadlin (NIH)
Introduction by Helen Swede (UConn Health)
10:10 – 11:00 AM Team science funding mechanisms
Linda Nebeling (NIH)
Introduction by Linda Pescatello (UConn)
11:00 – 11:15 AM Break
11:15 – 12:15 PM Breakout session 1: Forming successful teams of investigators
Facilitated by Michelle Bennett, Howard Gadlin, and Linda Nebeling (NIH)
12:15 – 1:15 PM Lunch
1:15 – 3:45 PM Breakout session 2: Forming successful teams of investigators
Facilitated by Michelle Bennett, Howard Gadlin, and Linda Nebeling (NIH)
3:45 – 4:00 PM Break
4:00 – 4:45 PM Panel discussion: Challenges, opportunities, and resources for team science at UConn and UConn Health

  • Jeff Seemann — Vice President for Research at UConn
  • Cato Laurencin — Professor at UConn Health and Chief Executive Officer of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS)
  • Deborah Cornman — Associate Director of UConn’s Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (CHIP)
  • Michelle Bennett — Deputy Scientific Director for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the NIH
  • Moderator: Michelle Cloutier (UConn Health)
4:45 – 5:00 PM Concluding comments
Amy Gorin (UConn)


L. Michelle Bennett, PhDL. Michelle Bennett, PhD
is the Deputy Scientific Director for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health. The NHLBI Division of Intramural Research comprises approximately 60 intramural scientists and clinicians working in basic, translational and clinical research. Dr. Bennett is responsible for scientific programmatic oversight, strategic planning, and implementing strategies to support the research mission. Dr. Bennett has extensive practical experience in facilitating transdisciplinary team-based approaches among scientists with diverse backgrounds and expertise to solve complex scientific problems. She is actively participating to support efforts to increase diversity in the biomedical workforce at NIH. Dr. Bennett co-led an initiative to understand the fundamental characteristics that contribute to successful scientific team functioning which resulted in the development of a workbook entitled, Collaboration and Team Science: A Field Guide, which serves as a primer for investigators who are building or participating on a research team.

Howard Gadlin, PhDHoward Gadlin, PhD
has been Ombudsman and Director of the Center for Cooperative Resolution at the National Institutes of Health since 1999. From 1992 through 1998 he was University Ombudsperson at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was also director of the UCLA Conflict Mediation Program and co-director of the Center for the Study and Resolution of Interethnic/Interracial Conflict. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Dr. Gadlin was Ombudsperson and Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. At present, Dr. Gadlin is studying the dynamics of scientific teams and collaborations and developing new approaches to addressing conflicts among scientists. An experienced mediator, trainer, and consultant, Dr. Gadlin has years of experience working with conflicts related to race, ethnicity and gender. Currently he is developing new approaches to addressing conflicts among scientists. He is often called in as a consultant or mediator in cases of “intractable” disputes. Dr. Gadlin has designed and conducted training programs internationally in dispute resolution, sexual harassment and multicultural conflict.

Linda Nebeling, PhD, MPH, RD, FADALinda Nebeling, PhD, MPH, RD, FADA
is the Chief of the Health Behaviors Research Branch (HBRB), in the Behavioral Research Program (BRP), Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Nebeling is also the lead Program Director for the Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics and Cancer (TREC) Centers initiative. She previously served as the Acting Associate Director of the BRP, DCCPS. Prior to joining the DCCPS, she was a Public Health Nutritionist and worked in the NCI’s National 5 A Day for Better Health Program, the largest public-private nutrition education program of its kind. She was awarded a post-doctoral appointment at the NCI’s Cancer Prevention Research Branch (CPRB), in the NCI Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program. Dr. Nebeling worked previously as a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Nutrition, Case Western Reserve University and a Clinical Dietitian at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Research funding available

During the workshop, teams of investigators will be formed with the goal of moving forward to pursue extramural grant funding. To continue team-building activities beyond the workshop, awards ranging between $5,000-$10,000 will be made to between 2-4 of the groups, for a total of $20,000. These funds will be used to support a wide range of activities that will position each team to apply for large scale funding. Examples of appropriate team science building proposals include, but are not limited to, funds to support a small pilot study to establish a connection between new collaborative partners; hire a graduate assistant to collect data or to analyze existing data in a new way; or to publish a new manuscript based on an existing database(s) that will demonstrate the need for the team’s area of focus. Each team must have investigators from UConn and UConn Health, and at least one pre-tenured faculty member.


Online registration is now closed. Limited late registration and day-of registration is available; please email to reserve your spot if you did not register through our online form.

Directions and Parking for Off-Campus Attendees

If you will be attending from off-campus, you may park for free in the South Garage (505 Stadium Way, Storrs, CT – between Gampel Arena and Cooperative Bookstore – garage is directly behind bookstore, in same building). Bring your parking stub to the workshop for validation.

From garage, take right on Hillside Road. Turn left on to Gilbert Road. Take next right and walk past Snow Residence Hall on left. The Lewis B. Rome Commons building is just past Snow on the left.

Click on the map below to view larger version of walking directions from South Garage to Rome Commons.

More information

This event is sponsored by the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) and organized by the CICATS/CHIP Obesity Research Interest Group. CHIP is the Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention at UConn.

If you have any questions regarding this event, please contact