International School on Obesity Research and Management

Regular readers may recall that a few months ago, we launched the Alberta-Saxony Obesity Research and Training Alliance (ASORTA), with the aim to build a strong partnership between the province of Alberta and the free state of Saxony in the area of obesity and metabolic disease.

The alliance was initiated in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on October 4, 2010, between the University of Leipzig (represented by Prof. Wieland Kiess, Director of the Department of Children’s and Women’s Health and former Dean of the Medical Faculty of the University of Leipzig) and the University of Alberta (represented by Dr. Carl Amrhein, Provost). The signing of the MOU was witnessed by Saxony Secretary of State, Hansjörg König.

This agreement 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

In the spirit of this alliance, this week, we are holding the1stInternational School on Obesity Research and Management (ISORAM) at the Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta.

The aim of ISORAM is to promote scientific and academic interactions between leading obesity researchers from Germany and Canada – as both countries seek to address the important consequences of this global health problem.

It may also be worth noting that ISORAM will be held in 2011, which marks the 40th Anniversary of the German-Canadian Political Framework for Bilateral Cooperation in Education and Research, which came into force on June 30, 1971 and forms the basis of an active bilateral partnership in science and technology between the two countries.

The ISORAM faculty and students include over 60 researchers, clinicians, and trainees from the Universities of Leipzig, Berlin, Hannover, and a Max-Planck Institute (Leipzig) as well as the Universities of Alberta, Calgary, and Lethbridge.

The over 30 oral presentations over the next five days will cover a wide range of topics including health law and policy, social and environmental factors, physical activity, the neurobiology of ingestive behaviour, energy metabolism, adipocyte biology, genetics and biomarkers, as well as behavioural, medical and sugical management of pediatric and adult obesity.

Together with my co-chairman of this event, Professor Michael Stumvoll (Leipzig), I certainly hope that this school will spawn a number of transatlantic exchanges and collaborations in the area of obesity research and management.

Lake Louise, Alberta