The New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center
Human Phenotyping/Body Composition Core - Objectives

This core provides body composition and physical performance measurements for the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center (NYONRC).

Objectives of the core

  • To make available to cooperating investigators specialized measurements in body composition, imaging analysis, energy expenditure, and physical performance in human subjects.
  • To provide investigators with consultation/advice in determining which methods or combination of methods are best suited to their needs based on the scientific questions combined with budgetary constraints.
  • To provide a setting where instruction in body composition, imaging analysis, physical performance, and energy expenditure is offered to students, postdoctoral research fellows, and other interested scientists.
  • To sponsor and participate in the conduct of periodic seminars on "state-of-the-art" body composition, physical performance, and energy expenditure with ultimate emphasis on those of greatest relevance to the problem of human obesity. This also involves the delivery of talks/lectures to departmental groups of physicians/investigators (eg., endocrine, pediatric, surgery) who would benefit from knowing about methodology and techniques available.
  • To provide reduced cost human body composition/physical performance phenotyping services to NYONRC Pilot and Feasibility recipients and post-doctoral fellows.
  • • To advance/develop non-invasive, in-vivo methodology for body composition and energy expenditure measurements in infant, pediatric and adult populations.

Administration and management of the Core

Dympna Gallagher, EdD
, is the Director of the Human Body Composition Core. Dr. Gallagher has eighteen years experience in body composition research. Dr. Gallagher has participated in the development of methods for using magnetic resonance imaging to measure high metabolic rate organs in adults (Gallagher et al, 1998) and children (Hsu et al, 2003); described body composition changes in weight stable healthy elderly (Song et al., 2004); described a novel adipose tissue depot called intermuscular adipose tissue (Gallagher et al, 2005; Yim et al, 2007). Two ongoing NIH funded projects involve investigating body composition changes using whole-body MRI and multi-component methods in children as they advance through puberty; and in morbidly obese before and after bariatric surgery. Two recently completed NIH funded studies investigated variations in REE with age and across race groups (He et al, 2009; Javed et al, 2010) which was an RO1 within a program Project grant (PO1 42618: PI: Gallagher) and body composition changes in adults with type 2 diabetic adults following weight loss (Gallagher 2009). Ongoing studies include phenotyping newborn infants; quantification of epicardial adipose tissue using MRI; and validation of the recently developed QMR (EchoMRITM) instrument (Gallagher 2010). Dr. Gallagher in collaboration with several other Center members organized the 8th Annual Symposium On In-Vivo Body Composition Studies (July 2008). Dr. Gallagher’s office is located in Scrymser Basement.

Associate Director
Wei Shen, MD
, has 9 years experience in body composition research, especially in MRI and MRS. Dr. Shen proposed the imaging adipose tissue classification (2003) and developed protocols for bone marrow (2007), intraperitoneal, extraperitoneal (2003, 2010), perimuscular and intramuscular adipose tissue (2003). Using statistical approach, Dr. Shen validated 3-D tissue volume models (2003) and identified the best single slice location (2004, 2008) and slice gap for MRI tissue quantification in adults and children (2010). Two ongoing NIH funded projects involve investigating visceral fat and health risks in children; and marrow fat with bone loss using MRI. Ongoing studies include developing regional marrow and organ fat measurement using fat fraction MRI. Dr. Shen has collaborated with many investigators in applying body composition methods in areas including insuline resistance, Acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, Premature Adrenarche, Idiopathic Osteoporosis, Anorexia Nervosa, HIV infection, Spinal Muscular Atrophy and motor vehicle collision. Dr. Shens office is located in
the Medical Arts Pavilion.

Mark Punyanitya, M.S. has been the Director of the Image Reading Center (IRC) for 5 years. He is a Biomedical Engineer and supervises a team of 7 Analysts. Mr. Punyanitya has experience in setting-up and overseeing studies involving imaging for national and international multi-center studies, and is a coauthor on many publications. Electronic transfer of acquired data occurs to the IRC where MRI, CT, and DXA scans are analyzed for tissue areas/volumes. The IRC and Mr. Punyanitya’s office are located in the Medical Arts Pavilion.

Modeling Consultant
Zimian Wang, Ph.D.
is a Research Scientist at the NYONRC and has over the past 20 years concentrated his work on three aspects of human body composition study: 1) modeling of body composition, in 1992, Dr. Wang published a five-level body composition model, which is widely accepted as one of the cornerstones in the area of body composition studies. In recent years, his study in body composition modeling includes SM to ATFM ratio (1997), multi-component models (Gallagher 1998), TBW to FFM modeling (1999; 1999), TBK to FFM modeling (2001; 2004), soft-tissue mineral modeling (2002), TBK to muscle modeling in adults (2003) and children (2007), FFM density modeling (2003), TBK to protein modeling in adults (2003) and children (2006), TBK to body cell mass modeling (2004; 2005), and BCM to FFM modeling (2007); 2) the association of body composition with energy metabolism in adults (1998), adolescents (2010), REE-FFM modeling (2000), systematic organization of REE prediction (2001), reconstruction of Kleiber’s law at the organ-tissue level (2001), and cellular level REE modeling (2005); and 3) body composition methodology, including a classic systematic organization of body composition methods (1995); a series of papers including multi-component model method (2002), total-body protein estimation method (2003), estimation methods of skeletal muscle mass by CT (1996), by DXA (1996; 1999), by urinary creatinine (1996), by urinary 3-methylhistidine (1998), and by total-body potassium mass in adults (2003) and in children (2007). Dr. Wang will provide advice and consultation with regards to modeling in body composition.

John Thornton, PhD
is a Research Associate at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. He has been a member of the Body Composition Unit at SLRHC since 1986 and has collaborated in the design, execution and analysis of many studies related to body composition and obesity in pediatric and adult populations. He has been Director of the Biostatistics Program of the NYONRC and was a primary statistician in the biostatistics core of the Body Composition program project grant (NIDDK PO142618: 1991-2006) and the pediatric body composition study (NIDDK R01DK037352: Pediatric body composition: ethnic specificities: 1986-1999). Dr. Thornton’s contributions include: performing power calculations, analyzing preliminary data, and providing advice on statistical analysis and study design; assurance of quality control; statistical analysis and interpretation support at the appropriate times; management of the database; and appropriate dissemination of data, and manuscript writing. Dr. Thornton’s office is located in Scrymser Basement.

Basements of the Scrymser and Plant Buildings at the St. Luke’s Hospital
site (1111 Amsterdam Ave New York, New York 10025) and
1090 Amsterdam Ave, 14th Floor, New Yor, New York 10025.

History: The Body Composiiton Unit was developed in 1967 with Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and John A. Hartford Foundation support. The collective St. Luke’s Body Composition Laboratories are located in more than 10,000 ft2 space in the Hospital’s Plant and Scrymser Building basements at St. Luke's Hospital site. The Body Composition Unit (BCU) is currently supported by the NIH funded Obesity Nutrition Center Grant. The space accommodates in vitro assay/bench work, waiting area, office space, and space for in vivo human measurements. The BCU has studied an average of 1000 patients and 2,000 tests each year. The BCU consists of 8 laboratories (Anthropometry, Bioelectrical impedance, Dilution Techniques, Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry, Potassium Whole Body Counting, Quantitative Magnetic Resonance (QMR), Resting Energy Expenditure, and Physical Performance), a pediatric examination area, and personnel offices.

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