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Leading expert on genetics of obesity to deliver Boyd Lecture at UGA

World-renowned geneticist Claude Bouchard

Athens, Ga. – World-renowned geneticist Claude Bouchard, professor and director of the Human Genomics Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, will deliver the fall 2013 George H. Boyd Distinguished Lecture at the University of Georgia. He will speak at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 1 in the UGA Hotel and Conference Center’s Mahler Hall. His lecture is titled “The Obesity Epidemic: Reflection on Contentious Issues.”

The Boyd Distinguished Lecture Series, supported by UGA’s Office of the Vice President for Research and the William S. and Elizabeth K. Boyd Foundation, brings national leaders and policymakers to UGA in science, education and related fields to discuss applications of research to contemporary issues in education. The lectures are free and open to all.

“During his time as executive director, professor Bouchard helped to make the Pennington Biomedical Research Center a state of the art facility with cutting edge programs in obesity and chronic diseases,” said David Lee, UGA vice president for research. “UGA is also committed to fighting this epidemic through our Obesity Initiative, and we look forward to learning as much as we can from Dr. Bouchard’s visit.”

In his lecture, Bouchard plans to address several obesity research controversies, including the heritability of obesity risk; whether the prevalence of obesity has reached a plateau; maternal weight, pregnancy weight gain and childhood obesity, and the various human responses to excessive caloric intake.

Bouchard’s research focuses on the genetics of obesity and the morbidities associated with obesity, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension. He is particularly interested in the genetics of adaptation to exercise and nutritional interventions. Over the course of his career, he has authored and coauthored several books and more than 1,000 scientific papers.

“Dr. Bouchard has been active in obesity related research for decades, and he has helped shape policy on obesity and physical activity in the U.S. and abroad,” said Clifton Baile, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in agricultural biotechnology and director of the UGA Obesity Initiative. “His international perspective and research experience provide a unique view into the development of the world wide obesity epidemic and the challenges in tackling this problem.”

Bouchard holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Laval University in Quebec, a master’s degree from the University of Oregon in exercise physiology and a doctoral degree from the University of Texas in population genetics. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, and he is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Society of Nutrition, the American Heart Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Among other awards, he was the recipient of the Honor Award from the Canadian Association of Sport Sciences in 1988; a Citation Award from the American College of Sports Medicine in 1992 and the Honor Award in 2002; the Benjamin Delessert Award in nutrition from France in 1993; Officer and Order of Leopold II of Belgium in 1994; the Willendorf Award from the International Association for the Study of Obesity in 1994; the Albert Creff Award in Nutrition of the National Academy of Medicine of France in 1997; the George A. Bray Founders Award from the Obesity Society in 2008; and the E.V. McCollum Award from the American Society of Nutrition in 2011.