Texas Network for Obesity Research


The vision of the Texas Network for Obesity Research (TeNOR) is to promote effective obesity prevention and treatment approaches for Texans.

Our mission is to facilitate connections and collaborations to promote obesity research and to disseminate and implement evidence-based programs and policies for Texans across the lifespan, including diverse and underserved populations.

Our audacious goal is to revolutionize obesity research and practice in Texas.

Meet the Executive Team


Karen Basen-Engquist
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Behavioral Science

Dr. Basen-Engquist’s research focuses on cancer survivors and the role of health behavior interventions in decreasing the severity of late effects, improving physical functioning, optimizing quality of life and reducing risk of chronic diseases.


Molly Bray
UT Austin
Department of Nutritional Sciences

Dr. Bray's research focuses on the relationship between energy balance and lifestyle factors such as exercise, nutrition, and circadian patterns of behavior. Her recent findings related to the genetic underpinnings of exercise adherence and the relationship between timing and quality of energy intake and weight gain/metabolic health have been featured on national and international news programs, a myriad of websites, and popular news media.


Nik Dhurandhar
Texas Tech University
Nutritional Sciences

Dr. Dhurandhar's research focuses on molecular biological aspects of obesity and diabetes in particular, obesity due to microbes, and clinical treatment of obesity.


Deanna Hoelscher
UT Health School of Public Health at Austin
Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Hoelscher's research focuses on teaching children and their families how to engage in healthier behaviors to avoid the development of chronic disease, with a special emphasis on low-income and diverse populations. Her work includes research in child and adolescent nutrition, school-and community-based health promotion programs, dietary assessment methodology, evaluation of child obesity policies, linkages between primary care and public health, and dissemination of school health programs.


Sarah Messiah
UT Health School of Public Health
Department of Epidemiology

Dr. Messiah's research focuses on the epidemiological investigation of childhood obesity and cardiometabolic disease risk factors with an emphasis on ethnic and racial disparities; and the implementation of evidence-based practices into clinical and community-based settings to promote healthy weight throughout the life course.


Leah Whigham
UT Health School of Public Health
Center for Community Health Impact

Dr. Whigham's research focuses on the discovery, development, and application of evidence-based approaches to address obesity that target individuals, organizations, institutions, and communities. Her work includes healthcare provider training, workplace wellness initiatives, economic develop for food systems, coalition building, policy analysis, advocacy, program development, technical assistance, and capacity building.

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