Obesity is just one of many health problems that plague both people and pets.

The health risks obesity poses to each will be examined during a special seminar that kicks off the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine's 16th annual research symposium June 17-18 in VMRCVM Room 102 on the Virginia Tech campus.

Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Virginia Tech Graduate School Dean Karen Depauw will present a keynote address entitled "Transformative Graduate Education" before the special seminar on obesity gets underway at 9 a.m. on Thursday, June 17.

Chaired by Dr. Craig Thatcher, professor and head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at VMRCVM, the seminar will feature remarks from a variety of university and guest researchers on June 17. Highlights include:

  • Dr. Janet Walberg Rankin, interim director of Virginia Tech's new Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences, will present a talk on "New Approaches to Research at Virginia Tech: Institute for Biomedical and Public Health Sciences" at 9 a.m.
  • Dr. Pamela E. Starke-Reed, deputy director of the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) Division of Nutrition Research Coordination, will present an overview of NIH obesity research at 9:15 a.m.
  • Dr. John C. Peters, director of Proctor & Gamble's Nutrition Science Institute will present "Social Change and Obesity Prevention: Where do we Begin?" at 9:45 a.m.
  • Dr. Dottie Laflamme, a veterinary nutrition communications specialist with Nestle Purina Pet-Care PTC will present "Feline Diabetes: A Model for Human Type II Diabetes" at 10:15 a.m.
  • Dr. Kevin P. Davy, associate professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, will present "Obesity and Hypertension: Two Epidemics or One?" at 10:45 a.m.
  • Dr. Korinne Saker, associate professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, will present "Obesity: A Growing Concern for Companion Animals" at 11:15 a.m.

Following the obesity seminar, the two-day research symposium will continue with the traditional graduate student presentation competition. Eighteen presentations providing glimpses of some of the major research programs underway in the college will be featured.

Graduate students compete in basic and clinical science categories, which are judged by teams of faculty members.

Graduate students and VMRCVM faculty members will make an additional 25 research presentations when the symposium continues on Friday, June 18. An awards luncheon/ceremony will be held at noon on Friday.

For more information about the symposium contact Kirsten Murphie at (540) 231-3528.