The Enrichment Program places particular emphasis on advancing translational research and on fostering research training and educational opportunities to enhance postdoctoral fellows, K-awardees, and early stage investigators (ESI). We accomplish this by sponsoring seminars and guest speakers as well as providing webinars for our faculty and postdocs as described below.
Annual Scientific Symposium: The Division of Scientific Education collaborates with Pennington Biomedical scientists to organize symposia designed to help direct the scientific focus of the Center and capture the state of the science on a chosen hot topic. These conferences draw top international scientists to Louisiana and allow them direct exposure to the Center and its faculty. Attendance is restricted to 65 participants to promote focused interactions and discussion among attendees. As many as 30 visiting scientists joining with Pennington Biomedical scientists present data and develop consensus statements and recommendations for future research. It is the goal that symposium proceedings and conclusions are published on the Center website and in scientific journals. The next scientific symposium co-chaired by Drs. Eric Ravussin and Kevin Hall PhD is scheduled for April 2022 and will be on “Biological and Behavioral Mechanisms of Weight Loss Maintenance”.
Visiting Speaker Series: Every Thursday except for two months in the summer and two weeks during the Holiday Season, NORC members attend seminars by visiting scientists from around the world. Topics vary, but the majority relate to nutrition, obesity and metabolic syndrome. A faculty committee, which includes 6 regular NORC members, selects speakers who are prominent scientists from national and international universities as well as governmental and industrial laboratories. The NORC Enrichment Program promotes the seminars to all NORC members across Louisiana, and those from outside Pennington are encouraged to attend. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, we have now implemented a virtual connection system (Teams) which has been very successful and will be offered widely to our academic partners in the future. NORC members and their post-docs have the opportunity to interact with visiting scientists during one-on-one meetings, pre-seminar receptions or during meals.
Work in Progress: All Pennington NORC members (faculty and postdocs) present on their ongoing research annually at Work in Progress (WIP) seminars held on Tuesdays at 11:00 am. Speakers deliver a one-hour seminar of their recent activity, allocating at least 10-15 minutes for questions and discussion. Participants are encouraged to engage in discussions that motivate collaboration between clinical/population scientists and basic scientists on critical clinical problems that allow isolation of clinical and population interventions along with basic research to understand the mechanisms of change.
Scientific Retreat: NORC members who are faculty or postdocs at Pennington Biomedical participate in Pennington Biomedical’s annual scientific retreat. The formats vary but are typically half-day to full-day meetings that encourage collaboration across scientific disciplines, provide research feedback, and improve presentation skills amongst postdocs and junior faculty. The last retreat was held on May 20, 2019 and had 65 faculty/postdocs in attendance. Participants gave brief presentations on their new and upcoming research ideas and invited collaboration from other Center scientists.