Summer Program In Diabetes & Obesity Research (SPIDOR)

SPIDOR is a 10-week NIH/NIDDK funded summer research experience providing outstanding underrepresented students in science and medicine an opportunity to gain meaningful exposure to the exceptional research and clinical programs at the Keck School of Medicine (KSOM) of USC.

Summer scholars will conduct cutting-edge research in the laboratories of faculty members from the USC Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute (DORI) and will exposed to basic science, translational, and clinical research experiences. The summer session culminates with students presenting their research findings to the KSOM community at large.

We intend to do SPIDOR in person next summer, but will have a modified version online if needed.

Application Opens October 19, 2020

Application Closes February 1, 2021

Program Runs June 1 through August 6, 2021

Program Director – Dr. Joyce Richey, PhD
Phone: 323-442-1939

Program Director – Richard M. Watanabe, PhD
Phone: 323-442-2053

Program Administrator – Christina Ayala, MPH
Phone: 323-442-2500

Program Eligibility

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be an underrepresented student as defined by the NIH
  • Must have completed at least 2 years of undergraduate studies
  • Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 or greater

Selection will be based on:

  • Letter of recommendation
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Exhibit leadership qualities
  • Essay and completed application

Program Highlights

Spidor Ceremony Presentations

  • 2019
  • 2018

DORI Pilot Program

The DORI pilot program was implemented to establish a track record in pilot funding and to build a critical mass of collaborative research. Pilot awards funded through DORI have supported new investigators, career development, new technologies, and team science. Since 2013, the DORI pilot program has invested $635,000 on funding a total of 13 awards supporting 11 pilot projects, two of which received a second year of support.

Principal Investigators of the pilot studies come from a diverse background and their work characterizes the integrated and translational theme of the DORI.  DORI pilot projects have been successful in producing high-impact findings, and awardees have demonstrated a high success rate in translating their work into larger, externally funded projects.

YearPI(s)AffliationTitleAwardedPresentations and abstracts submittedPublicationsExtramural Funding
2013Scott Kanoski, PhDAsst Professor, Department of Human & Evolutionary Biology; DornsifeDeconstructing central ghrelin signaling pathways contributing to cognitive control of excessive feeding$37,392[1] The Obesity Society Annual Meeting, Nov. 2013, Atlanta, GA (pral presentation; invited symposium talk)
[2] Seminar of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Weight and Eating Disorders, Jan. 2014, Philadelphia, PA (oral presentation, invited talk).
[3] The monthly research seminar of Bucknell University, Dept. of Psychology, Feb 2014, Lewisbrug, PA (oral presentation, invited talk)
[4] The first annual research symposium of D.O.R.I, USC, Feb. 2014, Los Angeles, CA (oral presentation, invited talk)
[5] The Ascona Workshop on the neural control of human energy homeostasis, Sept. 2014, Ascona, Switzerland (oral presentation, invted talk)
[6] USC Neuroscience Graduate Program, annual retreat, Sept. 2014, Lake Arrowhead, CA (oral presentation, invited talk)
[7] The neurobiology of learning and memory winter conference, Jan. 2015, Park City, UT (oral presentation; invited talk)
[8] USC Biological Sciences Inter-Section Seminar, Feb 2015, Los Angeles, CA (oral presentation; invited talk)
[9] University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, October 2106 (invited talk) [10] Obesity Society Annual Meeting, November 2016 (invited talk)
none The DORI grant funding substantially contributed to an R01 project that was selected for funding.
2013Henry Sucov, PhDProfessor, Department of Cell & Neurobiology; KSOMMolecular Biology and Physiology of Epicardial Adipose Tissue$30,700None[1] Yamaguchi Y, Cavallero S, Xu J, Kumar SR, Sucov HM. Adipogenesis and formation of epicardial adipose tissue: a novel fate of the epicardium induced by mesenchymal transformation and PPARg activation. Submitted for publication to PNAS.
[2] Yamaguchi Y, Cavallero S, Patterson M, Shen H, Xu J, Kumar SR, Sucov HM. Adipogensis and epicardial adipose tissue: a novel fate of the epicardium induced by mesenchymal transformation and PPARg activation. Proc. Natnl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2015, 112(7): 2070-2075
View Publication
2013Frank Gilliland, MD, PhDProfessor, Department of Environmental Health; KSOMEnvironmental Obesogens, Breastfeeding and Early-Life Growth Trajectories$32,000NoneNone
[1] P50ES026086 [2] UH3OD023287
2014Ralf Langen, PhD & Pinchas Cohen, PhDProfessors, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology; KSOM & Davis School of GerontologyA Novel, Anti-Diabetic, Protein-Aggregation Inhibitory Role for the Mitochondrial-Peptide Humanin$34,940 The MDP work has been presented at the Biophysical Society meeting in form of a poster.A complete draft of a publication acknowleding the DORI funding has been assembled. The document is ready for submission, but it would be of higher impact, if some toxicity data from cell work would be included. We are still trying to optimize these measurements, but will submit the paper before the end of 2016.[1] 5R01GM115736 [2] 3R01NS08345-01A [3] 5R01NS084345
2014Steve Mittelman, MD, PHD
Assoc Professor, Department of Pediatrics/Children’s Hospital Los AngelesRole of Natural Killer cells in the development of diet induced obesity$35,000None
None[1] R01CA201444 [2] 5R01CA213129
2014Fred Sattler, MDProfessor, Department of Medicine; KSOMA target for pre-emptive therapy to prevent serious cardiometabolic complications$34,978NoneNoneNone
2015-16Scott Kanoski, PhDAsst Professor, Department of Human & Evolutionary Biology; DornsifeThe effects of early life sugar consumption on cognitive function$50,000 (Y1) & $100,000 (Y2)[1] Fall Seminar Series; The John B Pierce Research Institute, Yale University (September 2016; New Haven, CT, w/ honorarium and travel support). “Early life sugar consumption and cognitive dysfunction.”
[2] Invited presentation to The Annual Chris Comer Undergraduate Neuroscience Seminar; University of Illinois at Chicago (Oct. 18 2017; Chicago, IL, w/ honorarium and travel support). “Gut to brain dysbiosis: Interactions between unhealthy diet, the hippocampus, and memory.”
[3] Invited ‘Grand Rounds’ presentation at the University of Colorado Buffalo. [4] The Obesity Society – Annual Meeting (Nov. 2017, Washington D.C., with travel support). Noble E.E.,Kanoski S. E. “Gut to brain dysbiosis: Interactions between unhealthy diet, the hippocampus, and memory”. Presentation won the Early Career Grant Challenge Award ($25,000).
[1] Noble E.E., Hsu T.M., Jones R., Fodor A., Goran M.I., Kanoski S.E. (2017). Early life sugar consumption affects the microbiome in rodents independent of obesity. Journal of Nutrition, 147(1): 20-28. (JCR impact factor = 4.15; empirical paper). [2] Noble, E. E., Hsu, T. M., Liang, J. & Kanoski, S. E. Early-life sugar consumption has long-term negative effects on memory function in male rats. Nutritional neuroscience, 1-11, doi:10.1080/1028415X.2017.1378851 (2019).
[3] Noble, E. E. et al. Early-Life Sugar Consumption Affects the Rat Microbiome Independently of Obesity. J Nutr 147, 20-28, doi:10.3945/jn.116.238816 (2017).
View Publication
[1] A funded NRSA F32 from NIH; Emily Nobel (postdoc from Kanoski Lab). [2] A prestigious early
career award for Emily Noble, Scott's trainee, from The Obesity Society. [3] R01 Submission that recently scored at the 7th percentile (DK11692).
2016Senta Gerogia, PhD and Stacey Finley, PhDAsst Professors, Department of Pediatrics, CHLA,% Viterbi School of EngineeringBuilding a computational model to stimulate beta cell regeneration in vivo$50,000NoneNoneNone
2016-18Megan Herting, PhDAsst Professor, Department of Preventive Medicine; KSOMNear roadway air pollution and neurobehavioral risk factors for childhood
$50,000 (Y1) & $100,000 (Y2)Abstracts
[1] Robert Kim, Eva Gabor-Fourcade, Christina M. Koppin, Megan M. Herting, Monica Serrano-Gonzalez, Nicolette Sullivan, Juan Espinoza, Mitchell E. Geffner, Mimi S. Kim "Dietary Self-Control is Not Influenced by Food Tastiness in Overweight/Obese Children with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia Compared to Matched Controls." Sumbitted to DORI Research Sympsium (February 2018). [2] Herting, M.M., Kim, R., Campbell, C., Gabor-Fourcade, E., Koppin, C.M., McConnell, R., Kim, M.S. Young
Adults, But Not Children, Process Food Healthiness During Dietary Decision-making. The Obesity Society at Obesity Week, Nashville, Tennessee, 2018
[3] Campbell, C., Mezher, A.,* Tyszka, J.M., Pauli, W.M., Nagel, B.J., Herting M.M. Examining age, sex, and body mass in association with amygdala composition using a high-resolution probabilistic Atlas. Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting, San Diego, 2018.
[4] King, L., Campbell, C.E., Chu, X., McConnell, R., Habre, R., Rappaport, E., Gilliland, F., Herting, M.M. How does child and adolescent PM2.5 influence cognitive and emotional functioning in young adults? 20th Annual Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work, USC, 2018. [5] Jaime, M., Prathap, S., Campbell, C.E., Jann, K., McConnell, R., Lurmann, F., Rappaport, E., Gilliland, F., Herting, M.M. Determining how PM2.5 exposure affects cerebral blood flow within young adults in Southern California. 21st Annual Undergraduate Symposium for Scholarly and Creative Work, USC, 2019. Honorable Mention Award [5] Chakravartti, S.P.*, Nagel, B.J., Herting, M.M., Aerobic fitness is associated with structural organization of hippocampal subfields in male adolescents. OHBM Annual Meeting, Rome, 2019. [6] Prathap, S., Nagel, B.J., Herting, M.M. Aerobic Fitness and Memory Improvements Mediated by Structural Organization of Hippocampal Subfields in Male Adolescents. DORI symposium (February 2019; invited talk). [7] Campbell, C.E., Azad, A. Kim, R., Kim, M.S., & Herting, M.M. Dietary Decision-Making and Brain Structure in Youth. DORI Symposium (February 2020; invited talk).
[1] Megan Herting, "Neurodevelopment, Behavior, and Air Pollution". Invited Talk, Southern California Environmental Heatlh Sciences Center External Advisory Board Meeting
[2] Megan Herting, "A multi-modal neuroimaging approach towards elucidating potential mechanisms". Invited Talk, AirPollBrain Workshop and Symposium
[1] Megan M. Herting, Robert Kim, Claire Campbell, Mimi S Kim. “Processing of Food Attributes and Brain Structure in Overweight and Obese Youth” – In Preparation
[2] Ryan Cabeen, Anisa Azad, Claire Campbell, Robert Kim, Megan M. Herting. “Tractography of amygdala white matter tracts in overweight and obese children and adolescents” – In Preparation [3] Chen, Z., Herting, M.M., Chatzi, L., Belcher, B.R., Alderete, T.L. McConnell, R.S., Gilliland, F.D. Regional and traffic-related air pollutants are associated with higher consumption of fast food and trans fat among adolescents. American Society for Nutrition. Vol. 109(1): 99-108, 2019. PMID: 30596809. PMCID: PMC6358030.
[4] Monica Serrano-Gonzalez, Nicolette Sullivan, Robert Kim, Christina M Koppin, Julie Werner, Megan M. Herting, Joyce Javier, Juan Esponza, Mimi S Kim. "The Processing Speed of Food Tastiness and Healthiness Determines Dietary Self-Control in Healthy Children"- In Preparation [5] Herting, M.M., Younan, D., Campbell, C.E., Chen, J.C. Outdoor air pollution and brain structure and function from across childhood to young adulthood: a methodological review of brain MRI studies. Frontiers in Public Health. 2019 Vol. 7: doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2019.00332. [6] Campbell, C.E.*, Azad, A., Kim, M.S., Belcher, B.R., Herting, M.M. Dietary decision-making and brain structure in youth. In preparation
[7] Azad, A., Campbell, C.E.*, Cabeen, R., Herting, M.M. White matter connectivity of the amygdala: associations with age, sex, and weight status. In preparation
View Publication
[1] CRS Voucher (Herting) UL1TR001855-02
Physical activity and emotion and appetite in children
[2] Rose Hill Foundation [3] R01ES030108
2019Lindsey Schier, PhDAsst Professor, Department of Human & Evolutionary Biology; DornsifeEffects of Early Life Sweetener Consumption on Taste Function$40,000pendingnot yetNone
2019Shan Luo, PhDAsst Professor, Department of Internal Medicine; KSOMNeural correlates of impulsivity in obese and lean children exposed to maternal obesity$40,000pendingnot yetNone
Total Awarded$335,010

We aim to reduce these social & health disparities through the development of novel precision options for treatment & prevention tailored to ethnicity & stage of life

Clinical & translational research in patient populations served by USC

Convergent science to harness & leverage unique resources & expertise across KSOM& USC through a diversity of disciplines

Effective health behavior strategies built on community engagement

Our Main Focus

Obesity and diabetes are major health burdens especially in poor and under-represented minorities. DORI establishes a unified vision across University of Southern California (USC) focused on:

DORI’s Unique Focus on Disparities
in Obesity & Diabetes

Annual DORI Symposium

Check out the latest in diabetes research from our 2020 DORI Symposium; featuring doctors, scientists and researchers from top universities and research institutes across the globe.