Catherine Kotz, PhD, professor and associate director of graduate studies for the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and associate director of research at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center in Minneapolis, has been named the new president of The Obesity Society (TOS). TOS is the leading organization of scientists and health professionals devoted to understanding and reversing the epidemic of obesity and its adverse health, economic and societal effects.

“The Obesity Society is a professional organization that provides a scientific base and home for those interested in the study of obesity. I have always enjoyed the merging of clinical and basic science study of disease and The Obesity Society supports that approach,” Dr. Kotz said. 

TOS combines the perspectives of researchers, clinicians, policymakers and patients. The organization promotes innovative research, education and evidence-based clinical care to improve the health and well-being of all people with obesity.

Dr. Kotz is a leading researcher in the neuroscience of obesity and energy balance. Her doctoral  research focused on neuropeptide regulation of feeding and energy expenditure, including the effects on circulating hormones and enzymatic activity in white and brown adipose tissue. She has already served as vice president of TOS and has been involved with the organization since 1992, when she submitted an abstract of her doctoral dissertation for their annual meeting, leading to her invitation to compete for the Ethan Sims Young Investigator Award

“I ended up winning the competition, which was an honor for me. I continued my involvement, serving on many committees and the council, missing only one annual meeting since that time,” Dr. Kotz said. 

Now, as TOS president, she is eager to continue networking with fellow scientists while simultaneously advancing her leadership skills. “As my ‘go-to’ organization, where I have many friends and colleagues, it's a great honor for me to be president this year, and I am proud to represent the membership of The Obesity Society,” Dr. Kotz said. 

Dr. Kotz's goals for the year include sustaining and expanding upon the considerable progress TOS has made in restructuring their sections and committees and to continue developing the TOS’s reach amongst other partner organizations. A major initiative this year is to build on past efforts to incorporate more diversity, equity and inclusion strategies into TOS and to support similar efforts within the overall field of obesity work. Another imperative initiative is to increase grant funding to support stellar obesity scientists, with an emphasis on underrepresented groups, and to foster excellence and long-lasting careers in obesity research.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the excellence of TOS and furthering understanding of obesity as a disease. Due to the considerable efforts of our TOS executive team, staff and members in preceding years, I stand in a great position to help TOS continue to lead the way in improving obesity research, access to treatment and care.” Dr. Kotz said.