November 17, 2021

Limited Submission Opportunity: NIDDK Pediatric Obesity Discovery Science Research to Improve Understanding of Risk and Causal Mechanisms for Obesity in Early Life; deadline is Dec. 13

These instructions are for VUMC investigators. VU investigators should apply through InfoReady and address any questions to


VUMC may submit one application to the NIH National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Pediatric Obesity Discovery Science Research to Improve Understanding of Risk and Causal Mechanisms for Obesity in Early Life program. The program is designed  to support innovative, discovery research studies to better characterize early-life risk factors and elucidate underlying causal mechanisms through which these risk factors contribute to the development of obesity during infancy and early childhood. Studies should aim to understand biological mechanisms that mediate behavioral and/or metabolic risk for obesity development in young children and how risk may be modified by other contributors such as psychosocial, contextual, and/or environmental factors. This FOA encourages multidisciplinary teams of scientists including, but not limited to those with expertise in basic, translational, clinical, and behavioral research.

Research Objectives:

  • Projects should be designed to study infants and children longitudinally and at frequent intervals during the first 3 years of life to explore potential determinants and mechanisms for the development of obesity. Studies may examine predictive measures from the pre-conceptional period to birth but must include longitudinal data of the infant from birth to 3 years of life.
  • Proposed studies ancillary to ongoing parent studies with a cohort of well-characterized participants (pregnant women and infants) and existing research infrastructure that leverage use of data and biological samples are acceptable.
  • Examining trajectories of change in BMI and fat mass over time as well as the development of obesity defined as a categorical outcome is encouraged.
  • Studies are strongly encouraged to include short mechanistic interventions (perturbations or challenge studies) where relevant to provide support for hypothesized causal relationships, but interventions with a goal of obesity prevention or treatment are non-responsive to this FOA.
  • Projects that seek to enroll diverse populations at high risk for obesity and health disparities such as racial and ethnic minority populations, less privileged socioeconomic status (SES) populations, underserved rural populations, and any subpopulations that can be characterized by two or more of these descriptions are particularly encouraged.

See the solicitation for more details including studies of particular interest and those considered non-responsive (Part 2, Section I).

Award Information:

Application budgets are limited to $500,000 direct costs per year. Budgets should reflect the actual needs of the proposed project. The maximum project period is 5 years.

Internal Application Process:

Anyone interested in being considered to submit VUMC’s proposal must submit the following (in a single PDF) to by 5 p.m. on December 13:

  • Brief project description including summary budget and role of each PI (2 page max);
  • Letter of support from department chair/center director;
  • NIH Biosketch for all PIs

Full applications are due to NIH by March 8, 2022, with an LOI requested 30 days prior. Any questions about this opportunity or the LSO process may be directed to