Newton to Chair National Institutes of Health Committee

Study Section Committee Members Review Scientists’ Applications for Research Funding

For more information, contact Ted Griggs,, 225-288-8840, or Lisa Stansbury,, 225-763-2978


March 1, 2021

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana – Robert L. Newton Jr., PhD, Associate Professor and Director, Physical Activity and Ethnic Minority Health Laboratory, at Pennington Biomedical Research Center has accepted a two-year term as Chairperson of the Lifestyle Change and Behavioral Health Study Section for the National Institutes of Health’s Center for Scientific Review. 

“Chairing an NIH Study Section is a unique and high honor.  This is an outstanding accomplishment and recognition from NIH and Dr. Newton’s peers of both the value of his research and his ability to assess the potential benefits of proposed scientific inquiries,” said John Kirwan, PhD, Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical.

NIH Study Sections may review as many as 300 grant applications in a year.  Membership in a study section represents a major commitment of professional time.  The chairperson determines, to a large extent, the effectiveness and efficiency of the review group.

“As a scientist and grant applicant, I benefited from the guidance and experience of Study Section members.  It’s a privilege to be in a position to offer the same kind of assistance, and I believe it’s my responsibility as a scientist to contribute to the national biomedical research effort,” Dr. Newton said.

The Lifestyle Change and Behavioral Health Study Section reviews grant applications focused on promoting health behaviors or lifestyle changes that reduce health risks or help people recover from diseases, conditions or treatments.  The proposed research typically uses behavioral strategies to improve study participants’ well-being, delay the onset of disease, or to maintain recovery from diseases.

Dr. Newton's research focuses on addressing health disparities in African American children, adults, and older adults.  He is currently the co-principal investigator of two NIH grants examining whether African Americans’ risk of Alzheimer’s Disease can be reduced through exercise.  African Americans have two times the risk of developing the disease compared to other ethnic groups.


About the Pennington Biomedical Research Center

The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia.  The Center conducts basic, clinical, and population research, and is affiliated with Louisiana State University.  The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 450 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and other support personnel.  Pennington Biomedical is located in state-of-the-art research facilities on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  For more information, see