Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute opens new research center on health behaviors

VTCRI researchers to study habits that lead to medical conditions like obesity


“At the time when I came and started at Curves, I lost 70 pounds. But even at that time, I was still at 200,” said Juanita Schlotthober of Roanoke.


Schlotthober is one of many who has been fighting obesity and other health struggles for years.


For the first time, the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute is opening up a new center that will focus on negative behavior that leads to diseases like obesity, addictions, and diabetes.


“Obesity is a risk factor for the development of type two diabetes, and consuming more energy than we need also leads to obesity,” said Matthew Hulver, a researcher at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute.


While it’s no secret that new treatments for individual diseases emerge every day from research labs across the globe, these researchers at VTCRI believe the science addressing problems when habits get in the way of health has been minimal.


It’s those habits and other poor judgements that they’re going to explore.


What we’re really interested in is not only the causes of health behavior, things that contribute to health behaviors, but also the consequences of those health behaviors,” Hulver said.


The center will bring together different researchers and clinical experts.


“We’ve had people study obesity and diabetes, and we've had different pockets of people working in these areas, but we never brought them all together under one roof to really tackle the problems together and go after the big questions,” Hulver said.


Researchers look forward to starting their first human clinical study in the next few months.