Dr. José R. Fernández is a Professor and Vice Chair for Education in the Department of Nutrition Sciences. Dr. Fernández obtained his Ph.D. in Biobehavioral Health from Pennsylvania State University, training in genetics of complex traits under the advisory of Dr. Gerald McClearn and working with the three most commonly used models for genetic research: fruit flies, mice, and humans. He continued his academic training at the New York Obesity Research Center at Columbia University as a post-doctoral fellow focusing on genetics of obesity, under the mentorship of Dr. David B. Allison, and receiving specialized training in statistical models to improve the identification of genetic and environmental influences on obesity-related characteristics. Dr. Fernández joined UAB in August 2001, bringing special expertise in the application of statistical models to detect and disentangle genetic and environmental influences in obesity-related traits.
He has been the recipient of many awards, including the UAB President’s Faculty Diversity Award (2007), the UAB Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring (2010), the UAB School of Health Professions Joseph F Volker Outstanding Faculty Award (2012), and the inaugural recipient of the Shiriki Kumanyika’s Diversity Award by The Obesity Society (2015).
Research Interests:Dr. Fernández’s main research interest is the identification of genes that contribute to racial differences in obesity and diabetes. He uses the genetic admixture approach as a tool to decompose the genetic, social and cultural components underlying racial and ethnic differences in complex traits. He is also interested on the application of methods for gene mapping, the use of linear statistical models to
(a) identify genes in the population,
(b) identify gene-gene interactions, and
(c) identify the interaction of genes and environment;
as well as the use of statistical approaches to improve the identification of genes in the population.