Alberta Saxony Obesity Research and Training Alliance (ASORTA)

König, Kiess, Sharma, & Amrhein

König, Kiess, Sharma, & Amrhein

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of witnessing the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Leipzig and the University of Alberta regarding collaboration in the area of obesity and related disorders.

The signing event took place at the Alberta Diabetes Institute, following a presentation by Prof. Wieland Kiess, Director of the Department of Children’s and Women’s Health and former Dean of the University of Leipzig on the problem of childhood obesity in Europe.

Kiess, who is also the former President of the German Diabetes Association and President-Elect of the European Society of Pediatric Endocrinology, spoke of the various studies and initiatives currently underway at the University of Leipzig as part of their ambitious obesity research and treatment program.

As blogged recently, the University of Leipzig was awarded significant funding by the German federal government for the creation of an Integrated Obesity Research and Treatment Centre.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on behalf of the University of Alberta by the Provost Dr. Carl Amrhein and was witnessed by the Saxony Secretary of State, Hansjörg König.

The agreement, termed the Alberta-Saxony Obesity Research and Training Alliance (ASORTA), foresees a number of activities including student mobility, exchange programs for excellent medical students in their last clinical year (praktisches Jahr), basic and applied research in juvenile and adult obesity and associated diseases as well as holding a joint Winter School for graduate students and postdocs working in the area of obesity.

The agreement also includes collaborations in the areas of neuropeptide and receptor research as well as the establishment of an International Centre for Proteomics and Metabolomics.

I certainly look forward to working closely with my German colleagues from Saxony over the coming years, on what I am sure will be a most fruitful experience for both parties and ultimately lead to better prevention and treatment efforts for obesity on both sides of the Atlantic and elsewhere.

Edmonton, Alberta

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