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Obesity researcher to give public lecture March 30

Jim Barlow, Life Sciences Editor  (217) 333-5802


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Internationally known obesity researcher Richard Lee Atkinson will discuss the prospects for effective treatment in a public lecture at 7:30 p.m. March 20 at the University of Illinois.  The lecture is free and will be in Room 150 of the Animal Sciences Laboratory, 1207 W. Gregory, Urbana.

Atkinson, a physician and director of the Beers-Murphy Clinical Nutrition Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will spend three days on campus as part of the 1999-2000 Burroughs Wellcome Fund Visiting Professorship in the Basic Medical Sciences.  He also will lecture students enrolled in nutrition courses and meet with faculty members of the Division of Nutritional Sciences and the College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign.

Atkinson and fellow UW medical researchers announced the discovery of a possible viral link to obesity in 1997.  His lab focuses on genetic and dietary factors of obesity in animals and humans.  He also studies potential drug treatments that reduce body weight and lessen related complications such as hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea.

Excess body weight affects about 90 million Americans and is growing at an epidemic rate, according to the American Obesity Association.  Another report, by the Worldwatch Institute, estimates that 1.1 billion people in the world are overweight and that one in four people in the United States is obese.

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund Visiting Professorship program is administered by the North Carolina-based private foundation in partnership with the American Societies for Experimental Biology and the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies.