• Campus Universitario Zeferino Vaz, Campinas - SP - Brazil
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    Welcome to OCRC
    The Obesity and Comorbidities
    Research Center
  • sa
    Advancing scientific understanding
    on all major metabolic
    Diseases
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Welcome to the OCRC website.
Find here everything about our projects and investigators.

The Obesity and Comorbidities Research Center - OCRC - has gathered some of Brazil's most prolific and renowned scientists
to advance the understanding of obesity and the mechanisms leading to it and its associated diseases.



  • April 6th - Brazilian National Day of Mobilization for Health Promotion
  • April 6th - World Physical Activity Day
  • April 7th - World Health Day
  • April 26th - Brazilian National Day for Prevention and Fight Against Hypertension


Read our educational comics! What can you do to have a healthier lifestyle?

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Our history

The OCRC has started in 2013 and since then has made lots of progress in its research and educational fronts.

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Published Research

Find out what we've been investigating, read the published papers and get acquainted with our researcher's previous works.

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About Fapesp

OCRC is a proud member of one of the biggest research support funds in Latin America. Learn more about FAPESP here.

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About OCRC

Learn what OCRC stands for, our objectives and goals and get all the details on the Center.

OCRC coordinates scientific efforts to find solutions for obesity, a disease highly associated with a number of serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis and certain kinds of cancer. The overall mortality directly and indirectly associated with obesity is rapidly increasing in Brazil and all around the world - so much so that, today, it is considered a global epidemic. It's about time we gather our brightest minds to try putting an end to this sad tendency!

About OCRC

Our main goal is to advance the understanding of the causes and mechanisms leading to obesity and all diseases frequently associated with it, such as diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis and cancer.

In order to meet our main objective, the OCRC:

  • Provides core facilities that enhance our investigator's research capabilities and allow basic, translational and clinical research.

  • Integrates a multidisciplinary team of investigators to collaboratively address critical research questions and create new possibilities for diagnosis and treatment.

  • Educates the next generation of scientists and investigators in the field.

  • Shares quality information about the studied diseases and about our main research achievements.

Educational Website

More than doing research, we at OCRC are also concerned with education. The most successfull strategy to prevent obesity - and all its correlated diseases - is to enlighten people, from the earliest age possible, about what it means to have a healthy lifestyle and how to make sound, nutritional food choices.

That's why we created "SobrePeso", a website with all the information the population needs in order to understand obesity and learn simple steps one can take to avoid it. Visit the page by clicking the name above!


Our Lines of Research
How much does the obesity epidemics affect us?

Obesity affects today more than 400 million people - that's about 5.5% of the world's population. In 15 years, though, this percentage may be even higher. Some projections suggest that, by 2030, over 20% of all adults will be obese. And more than 50% of us will be overweight. This is a classic epidemics scenario, one that threatens our very future.

Researches have shown that the recent economic growth experienced by many countries may be one of the main reasons behind the obesity epidemic. Transition to city dwelling, the fast-food culture and to a sedentary lifestyle created a dangerous formula to our bodies. People began to eat more and exercise less. When choosing what to eat, readiness and low prices more often than not overtake nutritional values. People not only eat badly: they usually don't know what is good for their health, since they have received close to none nutritional education.

Obesity results from an imbalance between caloric intake and energy expenditure. Although great advances were recently made in characterizing the mechanisms that control feeding and thermogenesis, the complexity of the neural circuits that guide these functions and the difficulties imposed by anatomical constrains while studying the human hypothalamus have hampered the rapid advance of treatments for obesity. The OCRC has put together some of the most productive Brazilian scientists in the obesity field to focus energy, resources and brainwork on finding new ways to treat these pressing and serious problems.

Diabetes and Obesity - a perilous connection

Both obesity and diabetes are considered epidemic diseases nowadays, affecting roughly the same number of people (approx. 400 million worldwide). This is not a coincidence. Obesity is one of the main risk factors for type 2 diabetes - the type that accounts for 90% of all diabetes cases.

There are many molecular and biochemical mechanisms known to link obesity and diabetes, but more studies are needed in order to fully understand how exactly the accumulation of fat in the body affects the pancreas and its ability to control the amount of sugar in the blood. If they are well elucidated, preventive measures could be taken to tackle on two of the most pervasive modern diseases.

Diabetes is one of the main research areas here at the OCRC. Our investigators study the disease from many different angles - from cell communication to the influence of physical activities in our health - , always trying to bring the discoveries into the practical world of treating the disorder.

Why is it important to study hypertension?

High blood pressure is the number one preventable risk factor for premature death worldwide. More than a billion people suffer from this chronic condition, which increases the risks of many other health problems, such as heart diseases, neural damage, vascular failures and even eye and lung problems.

Obesity is directly linked to a higher risk of hypertension. If we are able to control the weight gain or understand how to avoid accumulating fat in our bloodstreams and body, there's a high chance we will be able to undermine the serious affects that hypertension's been having in global health.

Atherosclerosis - the number one public health enemy

All around the world, the leading cause of death are cardiovascular diseases. Atherosclerosis is the number one factor responsible for them. The term means that the walls of the blood vessels coming from your heart are crammed with certain molecules (like fat and cholesterol), so that they can't properly pump oxygen and nutrients to our organs. In time, this lack of appropriate functioning can lead to clots, privation of blood supply and a series of other diseases like strokes and aneurysms.

Atherosclerosis is intimately linked to obesity and being overweight. The accumulation of fat in the organism leads to a constant mild inflammation, which in turn creates molecules that possess deleterious effects. One of them is the thinning of the arteries. Another one is increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and other diseases that, by themselves, already create a scenario proper to the development of atherosclerosis.

Our health is a complex and convoluted mechanism, but some things do fit together, just like atherosclerosis and obesity. Science must now understand how exactly these diseases are connected in order to cure them - and that's something the OCRC is actively working on.

Even cancer is connected to obesity?

We already saw at the other topics that obesity leads to a number of complicated and quite serious diseases. What you may not know is that cancer is on this list. According to the World Health Organization, tobacco is the most important known avoidable cause of cancer; obesity comes second place.

Large scale studies have correlated obesity with significantly higher risks of cancer in the esophagus, pancreas, colon, rectum, breasts (after menopause), endometrium, kidney, thyroid and gallbladder.

We still don't know exactly why this is so. What we do know is that too much fat in the body leads to the formation of large amounts of certain hormones, like oestrogen, that likely play some roles in the development of cancer.

Here at the OCRC, we study very seriously the relationship between overweight, obesity and cancer, always trying to find novel pathways through which new cures for the disease may be reached.

Have you read ocrc's comic book
about diabetes? Check it out now!

Facilities

If you want to help Science better understand obesity and its related diseases,
come join us in our research efforts! Here's some techniques our investigators employ.

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Flow Citometry

A laser-based, biophysical technology employed in cell counting, cell sorting, biomarker detection and protein engineering.

RT-PCR

Technique used to qualitatively detect gene expression through creation of complementary DNA (cDNA) transcripts from RNA.

q-PCR

Biomolecular technique to quantitatively measure the amplification of DNA using fluorescent probes.

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Our Team

Biographical information on OCRC's top researchers, their lines of research
and latest published works. Mouse over the photos to access full profiles.

Anibal E. Vercesi Senior Researcher

Molecular mechanisms linking obesity and insulin resistance to atherosclerosis.



Antonio C. Boschero Senior Researcher

Characterization of molecular and cellular defects of pancreatic islets in experimental models of obesity and diabetes.

Carlos E. Negrao Senior Researcher

Molecular mechanisms linking physical activity to improved metabolic control.



Everardo Carneiro Senior Researcher

Evaluation of the role of nutrient deficiency in insulin resistance and obesity.



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Helena C. F. de Oliveira Senior Researcher

Molecular mechanisms linking obesity and insulin resistance to atherosclerosis.



Heraldo P. de Souza Senior Researcher

Immune response and thermogenesis in critically ill obese patients.



Heitor Moreno Jr Senior Researcher

Role of gene polymorphisms on hemodynamic parameter and vascular stiffness in obese resistant hypertensive patients.

Jose A. R. Gontijo Senior Researcher

Fetal programming and renal function in experimental models of nutritional overload and nutritional deficiency.

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Jose B. C. Carvalheira Senior Researcher

Molecular mechanisms linking obesity and cancer.




Licio A. Velloso Senior Researcher

The molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to hypothalamic dysfunction in obesity.


Mario J. A. Saad Senior Researcher

Molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance. Methods to study hypothalamic dysfunction and energy expenditure in humans (with Lício).

Ronaldo Pilli Senior Researcher

Target-specific development of drugs for obesity and diabetes.



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Silvana A. Bordin Senior Researcher

Circadian integration of energy metabolism.

Wilson Nadruz Senior Researcher

Impact of obesity, adiposity and hypertension on cardiac remodeling.

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Education

More details on our educational programs and initiatives

OCRC is bringing scientific discoveries closer to every segment of society, from professional to the laymen.
Here you can find details on our educational initiatives. Click the bars to reveal important information.


OCRC´s Education and Knowledge Dissemination Activities - 2014 to 2016

Download
Level 1 - Basic screening and educational program.

THE NEED TO START EARLY ON

Preventive measures to avoid obesity begin with appropriate education about nutritional choices and physical activities. Epidemiological studies show that once people have learned inadequate nutritional habits and become sedentary in their youth, there are greater chances they will be overweight/obese adults. It is pivotal, then, to teach kids about healthy food choices and the importance of being active early on in their lives.

That's why OCRC offers seminars on obesity, diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, nutrition and physical activity to high school students. During the seminars, kids and teens are encouraged to calculate their body mass index and are screened for diabetes and hypertension. We also share nutritional recommendations, tips on physical activities and illustrate the impact such approaches have on a healthier lifestyle.

WORKING WITH THE SENIORS

But our work isn't exclusive to the youngest. OCRC also targets senior citizens. Senior Associations in Campinas and nearby towns are invited to meetings organized by us, in which we talk about about obesity and its complications, focusing on the loss of life quality they bring on elders. Just as with the kids, screenings also happen during these events; if unknown cases of disease are found, appropriate medical attention is given. The meetings occurs at least once a month.

THE MULTIMEDIA APPROACH

OCRC's informational campaigns want to touch as much people as possible. We are launching a huge website dedicated exclusively to obesity and its co-morbidities, with easy-to-find and easy-to-understand information (check it out @ SobrePeso.com.br). The website is constantly update with the latest research news on the themes (from OCRC and all other research groups in the world), healthy recipes, exercise tips, articles etc. We will build a strong community around the site, allowing people to have their questions answered by their friends and creating a space for experience-sharing through forums and use of social networks. In addition, OCRC will create material for special reports to be broadcasted by an academic TV, the Radio and TV at the University of Campinas (RTV). The material is presented on-line and, in addition, can be obtained for download at the RTV site.

Level 2 - Museums and experimental laboratory of nutrition.

OCRC is bound to create a new and unique museum and experimental laboratory of nutrition at Unicamp's Limeira campus. The University has just started a new undergraduate course on Nutrition there, aimed at forming clinical and experimental nutritionists, as well as fostering research in the field.

Both the museum and the laboratory will serve two convergent purposes: to train graduate students majoring in nutrition and to educate society. The museum will allow visitor to interact with different types of food, minerals and vitamins, while learning about their nutritional properties, answering questions on the calorie amounts and possible medicinal uses. Graduate students will serve as guides to high school students who visit us, teaching which foods have the best properties that help maintain a healthy weight.

LIVE LEARNING

The museum will be linked to the experimental Laboratory of Nutrition, in which anyone can be trained about healthy food choices. People interested in the course will book a date and then learn the best techniques and approaches for preparing nourishing foods, taught by graduate students under OCRC's supervision.

Unicamp has a highly regarded Exploratory Museum of Sciences - one that we at OCRC will also explore! Every two years, our post-doctoral fellows will prepare and conduct special activities about the mechanisms of obesity to be held at the museum, thus amplifying even more our educational reach.

Level 3 - Science training for high-school students.

IT'S FUN TO LEARN IN THE SUMMER BREAK!

Since 1993, UNICAMP has held two programs that provide basic science training for high-school students. One of them is "Science during Vacations", in which selected students get a stipend for spending 8h/day, during four weeks of their summer vacation, working in parallel with undergraduates in research projects. It supports 120 high-school students per year and is part of the effort to offer public high school kids the opportunity to be involved with the basic elements of scientific investigation and to be in touch with senior scientists. The students receive a scholarship from CNPq and UNICAMP offers access to the University's restaurant and transport in order to increase adherence. A recent comment in Nature magazine gives deeper understanding of the initiative (Cunha LL Nature 2011 474: 450).

INCLUSIVE EDUCATION - THE OCRC WAY

The summer program is connected to a long-term program known as "Junior Science Training", during which students work for 8-12h/week for one year in a project developed in one of the Universitie's labs. This year, UNICAMP has offered 300 openings for high school students to take part in the program. OCRC is committed to increasing the number of openings, thus contributing to the inclusion of an even larger number of students from public schools.

Level 4 - Continuous education and scientific activities for graduate students and specialists.

OUR OWN SYMPOSIA

Once a year, the OCRC will organize a symposium on obesity and co-morbidities. These symposia will target graduate students and specialists working in the fields of metabolic, cardiovascular, inflammatory and neoplastic diseases. In addition, during the visits of members of the International Advisory Board, we will organize seminars to discuss the advances in the field. The main objective of Level 4 is to provide a high-level environment for the continuous formation and education of young scientists and specialists working in these fields of research.

This year, the first OCRC Symposium will take place on August 21-23 at Unicamp. Get more details in the section "Latest News & Events" just below!

Latest News & Events

Find here the newest info on our activities and
discover events related to diabetes, obesity, hypertension and atherosclerosis around the world.

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Be in Touch with Us

Here are many ways you can contact our team of top specialists in obesity
and related diseases. Feel free to chat with us!

More details

The Obesity and Comorbidities Research Center is located at the main campus of the University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil. UNICAMP is one of the most recognized Universities in South America and has steadily climbed the ranks to become one of the greatest in the whole world.

Feel free to visit us anytime. Just let us know beforehand! Here are some ways you can contact our team. All e-mails are read and (eventually) replied. The message box on the right goes straight to the PR guys, so if you have any media enquires, check that box!

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