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UB launches new center to study ingestive behavior

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Mon, May 20th 2019 07:00 am

Many health problems are related to food choice, yet diet selection – and the factors that contribute to the daily decisions about what people eat and drink – is a complex process that is not entirely understood. To coordinate, promote and foster research in an area so critical to maintaining proper health, the University at Buffalo has launched the Center for Ingestive Behavior Research (CIBR).

“I’m excited by the opportunity we have to make UB the premier center for ingestive behavior research,” said Derek Daniels, a professor in the university’s department of psychology and director of the new center. “There are very few universities that can claim the number of people we have working on this topic.

“I think it puts us on the map as a great place to do this important work.”

Food and fluid intake is both a social and biological phenomenon that includes psychological, metabolic, neural, hormonal and gastrointestinal mechanisms. Everyone eats and drinks, yet the same process that sustains life can also negatively affect it.

What we eat and drink can lead to diabetes, obesity chronic inflammation and cardiovascular disease.

“Many of these conditions have diet as their underlying cause related to either over- or under-consumption of food and fluid,” Daniels said.

UB’s new CIBR is a multidisciplinary center that combines the expertise of researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, School of Nursing, Graduate School of Education and School of Public Health and Health Professions.

The CIBR began as an organized community of ingestive behavior researchers in 2015 when the center’s associate directors Stephanie Anzman-Frasca, an assistant professor in the Jacobs School, and Ann-Marie Torregrossa, an assistant professor in the department of psychology, met at an orientation for new university faculty members.

“As Stephanie and I were talking, we realized how many people studied ingestive behavior on campus and thought we should get everyone together,” Torregrossa said.

The two set up an initial meeting that included eight UB researchers. Torregrossa said they set three goals: establish a center, a research day, and a training program.

“This year we celebrated our fourth annual research day with over 60 attendees,” she said.

Anzman-Frasca said she’s proud of what the group has been able to accomplish.

“It’s exciting that, just a few years since our first Ingestive Behavior Research Day in 2016, that UB’s CIBR has become a reality,” Anzman-Frasca said. “The center’s programs, including those supporting pilot research, student travel, and our annual research day, will facilitate continued collaboration between UB’s Ingestive Behavior faculty, and will accelerate the initial progress that came from the group’s early discussions. It’s an exciting time to be an ingestive behavior researcher at UB.”

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