Diane Gilbert-Diamond, ScD

Photo by John Gilbert Fox

Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology
Past Director, Quantitative Biomedical Sciences

Overview of research interests
Weight-related health problems are highly prevalent in the US and globally. My research focuses on how genetic and environmental factors independently and interactively relate to eating behaviors and adiposity. To explore this question, my lab utilizes both randomized controlled trials and cohort studies in children and adults. We explore genetic risk for obesity using both candidate genes and genome-wide polygenic risk scores. We collect diverse environmental and phenotypic data via questionnaires, behavioral observation, anthropometry measurement, functional magnetic resonance imaging and eye-tracking.

In your opinion, what is the relevance and significance of QBS’s mission and training to scientific advancement in both industry and academia?
There is a growing need in both industry and academia for students who are comfortable crossing between the disciplines of epidemiology, biostatistics and bioinformatics. Our students become fluent in the lingo of these disciplines which allows them to be great collaborators and cutting-edge researchers. Developing an interdisciplinary tool kit through QBS, prepares students to solve future problems that they encounter in industry or academia with rigor and creativity.

What are the positive aspects of having an interdisciplinary student in your lab?
Having a student with interdisciplinary training has allowed me to easily extend my research into new areas. As an example, one of my students was able to jump right into an analysis of the relationship between weight change and methylation profiles. Without her training, it would have taken much longer to get this research up and running.