David Allison

Dean and Provost Professor
School of Public Health-Bloomington

(812) 855-1250
PH 111

  • Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons & Saint Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital, NIH Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in the Department of Medicine & Obesity Research Center, 1991-94
  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine & The Kennedy Institute, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Departments of Pediatrics and Behavioral Psychology, 1990-91
  • Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, Ph.D. in Clinical and School Psychology from an APA approved program, 1990
  • Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, Master of Arts in Clinical and School Psychology, 1987
  • Vassar College, Poughkeepsie,, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, 1985

David B. Allison received his Ph.D. from Hofstra University in 1990. He then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a second post-doctoral fellowship at the NIH-funded New York Obesity Research Center at St. Luke's/Roosevelt Hospital Center. He was a research scientist at the NY Obesity Research Center and Associate Professor of Medical Psychology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons until 2001.

In 2001, he joined the faculty of the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he is currently Distinguished Professor, Quetelet Endowed Professor, Associate Dean for Research & Science, Director of Office of Energetics, and Director of the NIH-funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC). He has authored over 500 scientific publications and edited five books. He has won several awards, including the 2002 Lilly Scientific Achievement Award from The Obesity Society (TOS), the 2002 Andre Mayer Award from the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO), and the National Science Foundation Administered 2006 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). In 2009, he was awarded the Centrum Award from the American Society of Nutrition (ASN) and the TOPS research achievement award from the Obesity Society.  In 2013, he was awarded the Alabama Academy of Science's "Wright A. Gardner" award and the American Society of Nutrition's (ASN) "Dannon Institute Mentorship" award. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) in 2007, the American Psychological Association (APA) in 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2009, the NY Academy of Medicine in 2014, the Gerontological Society of America in 2014, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research in 2017, and inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 2013. He holds several NIH grants, including one of the Common Fund's NIH Director's Transformative Research Award (TR01) entitled "Energetics, Disparities, & Lifespan A unified hypothesis".

He has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the International Life Science Institute (ILSI), North America, since 2002 and served as Chairman of the Board from 2012 to 2015. In 2012 he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academies. He has served on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) and currently serves on the board-appointed Committee on Science and Technology Engagement with the Public (CoSTEP) for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2014 – 2020.

He serves or has served on the editorial boards of: Journal of Diabetes Research and Clinical Metabolism (JDRCM); Behavior Genetics; Clinical Pharmacology: Advances and Applications; Computational Statistics and Data Analysis; European Journal of Clinical Investigation; Global Epidemic Obesity; Human Heredity; International Journal of Eating Disorders; International Journal of Obesity; International Scholarly Research Network (ISRN) Nutrition; Nutrients; Nutrition Today; Obesity Reviews; Obesity; Obesity: Science and Practice; PeerJ; Public Library of Science (PLOS) Genetics; PLOS ONE; Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases (SOARD) and Advances in Nutrition and Food Technology.

Dr. Allison is also proud to be the founding Field Chief Editor of Frontiers in Genetics.

Dr. Allison's research interests include obesity and nutrition, quantitative genetics, clinical trials, statistical and research methodology, and research rigor and integrity.

Link to CV

Recent Honors
  • Received the American College of Nutrition’s Mark Bieber Professional Award, 2016.
  • Selected to deliver the 2016 Indiana University School of Medicine Corcoran Lecture, and distinguished endowed lectureship. Lecture delivered October, 2016.
  • Invited (and accepted) to The White House by the Office of Science and Technology Policy to participate in a symposium on STEM mentoring and volunteering, August, 2016. 
  • Elected a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) conferred by the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, 2015.
  • Selected as annual ‘Blackburn Lecturer”, 2015. The Blackburn Lectureship honors the seminal accomplishments of a leader in Obesity Medicine, who gives a state-of-the-art lecture at Harvard’s Blackburn Course in Obesity Medicine.
  • Elected Chair-Elect of the American Society of Nutrition (ASN) Obesity Research Interest Section (RIS) , 2014
  • Elected Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, 2014
  • Elected Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine, 2014
  • Elected Member of Sigma Xi, 2014
  • Appointed F1000 Faculty Member, 2014
  • Appointed Nominations Chair for the Ethics Primary Special Interests Group section of the American Public Health Association, 2014
  • Selected to deliver 14th annual Carl J. Martinson, MD, Lectureship in Preventive Medicine - University of Minnesota, September 12, 2014
Press, Press Releases, and Special Announcements in Last 3 Years
  1. AHA awards UAB a $3.7 million grant to further generational obesity research (UAB News, April 24, 2017)
  2. Should we treat obesity like a contagious disease? (Science, AAAS, Feb. 19, 2017)
  3. David Allison and colleagues’ paper tops list of best comment pieces for 2016 by Nature editors (School of Health Professions, December 28, 2016 )
  4. David Allison to deliver Corcoran Lecture at IU School of Medicine.(UAB School of Health Professions, October 17, 2016)
  5. UAB professor recognized for achievements in nutrition research. (UAB News, August 19, 2016)
  6. We're So Confused: The Problems With Food and Exercise Studies. (The New York Times, August. 11, 2016)
  7. David Allison on Problems in Obesity, Nutrition Research. (The Downey Obesity Report, July 13, 2016)
  8. Study shows that black men with more West African genes have lower risk of obesity. (AAAS, June 1, 2016)
  9. Study shows that black men with more West African genes have lower risk of obesity (UAB News, June 1, 2016)
  10. Could a Few Extra Pounds Help You Live Longer? (Scientific American, May 10, 2016)
  11. Common scientific and statistical errors in obesity research. (SOPH, March 30, 2016)
  12. Ten major errors in obesity research discussed (UAB News, March 30, 2016)
  13. Want to correct the scientific literature? Good luck. (Retraction Watch, Februaty 3, 2016)
  14. Reproducibility: A tragedy of errors (Nature, February 3, 2016)
  15. David Allison receives F1000 Faculty Member of the Year award (UAB News, April 2, 2015)
  16. The U.S. government is poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol (The Washington Post, February 10, 2015)
  17. For obesity research, self-reported diet and physical activity data too inaccurate, expert report says (UAB News, January 13, 2015)
  18. NORC researchers find behavioral response to health interventions leads to less weight change than often predicted (UAB News, November 26, 2014)
  19. Study turns tables on value of breakfast, weight loss (USA TODAY, August 25, 2014)
  20. UAB short course to promote better research into causes of obesity (UAB Reporter, August 18, 2014)
  21. Allison honored for his work in gerontology ( UAB - School of Medicine - News, July 10, 2014)
  22. Allison and Gower named to American Society of Nutrition’s Research Interest Sections (UAB News, June 26, 2014)
Selected Publications

(2016 only)

Milner AN, George BJ, & Allison DB. (2016) Black and Hispanic Men Perceived to be Large Are at Increased Risk for Police Frisk, Search, and Force. PLOS One, Jan 19;11(1):e0147158. [doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147158] [PMCID: PMC4718646]

Vaanholt, L. M., Milne, A., Zheng, Y., Hambly, C., Mitchell, S. E., Valencak, T. G., Allison, D. B., & Speakman, J. R. (2016). Oxidative costs of reproduction: Oxidative stress in mice fed standard and low antioxidant diets, Physiology & Behavior, 154, 1, 1-7, ISSN 0031-9384, [doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.11.009] [PMID: 26569452] [PMCID: PMC4691418]

Pavela, G., Lewis, D. W., Locher, J., & Allison, D. B. (2016). Socioeconomic Status, Risk of Obesity, and the Importance of Albert J. Stunkard. Curr Obes Rep. 2016 Mar;5(1):132-9. NIHMSID 722679 [doi: 10.1007/s13679-015-0185-4] [PMCID: PMC4798886]

George, B. J., Beasley, T. M., Brown, A. W., Dawson, J., Dimova, R., Divers, J., Goldsby, T. U., Heo, M., Kaiser, K. A., Keith, S., Kim, M. Y., Li, P., Mehta, T., Oakes, J. M., Skinner, A., Stuart, E., & Allison, D. B. (2016). Common scientific and statistical errors in obesity research. Obesity, Apr;24(4):781-90. [doi: 10.1002/oby.21449] [PMCID: PMC4817356]

Allison, D. B., Antoine, L. H., & George, B. J. (2016). Incorrect Statistical Method in Parallel-groups RCT Led to Unsubstantiated Conclusions. Lipids in Health and Disease, 15:77. DOI: 10.1186/s12944-016-0242-3. [commentary].

Ivanescu AE, Li P, George B, Brown AW, Keith SW, Raju D, & Allison DB (2016) The Importance of Prediction Model Validation and Assessment in Obesity and Nutrition Research. International Journal of Obesity. [doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.214]

Dawson, J. A., Kaiser, K. A., Affuso, O., Cutter, G., & Allison, D. B. (2016). Rigorous control conditions diminish treatment effects in weight loss randomized controlled trials. International Journal of Obesity. [doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.212]

Freedman, D. S., Lawman, H. G., Pan, L., Skinner, A. C., Allison, D. B., McGuire, L., & Blanck, H. M. (2016). The prevalence and validity of high, biologically implausible values of weight, height and BMI among 8.8 million children. Obesity. 2016 Mar 17. [doi: 10.1002/oby.21446] [Epub ahead of print]

Skinner, A. C., Goldsby, T. U., & Allison, D. B. (2016). Regression to the Mean: A Commonly Overlooked and Misunderstood Factor Leading to Unjustified Conclusions in Pediatric Obesity Research. Child Obes. 2016 Apr;12(2):155-8. [PMID: 26974388] [doi: 10.1089/chi.2015.0222] Epub 2016 Mar 14.

Williams CM, Szejner A, Morgan TJ, Edison AS, Allison DB, & Hahn DA. (submitted). Adaptation to low temperature exposure increases metabolic rates independently of growth rates. Integrative and Comparative Biology.

Allison, D. B., Brown, A. W., George, B. J., & Kaiser, K. A. (2016). A tragedy of errors: Mistakes in peer-reviewed papers are easy to find but hard to fix. [Commentary]. Nature, 530, 27-29.
Chosen as Nature Editors’ pick of this 2016 influential expert opinions.

Klimentidis YC, Arora A, Zhou J, Kittles R, & Allison DB (2016). The genetic contribution of West-African ancestry to protection against central obesity in African-American men but not women: results from the ARIC and MESA studies. Frontiers in Genetics, June(7) 89:1 - 6.

Kyle T. K., Dhurandhar E. J., & Allison D. B. (2016). Regarding Obesity as a Disease: Evolving Policies and Their Implications. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America, Volume 45, Issue 3, September 2016, Pages 511–520.

Mitchell SJ, Madrigal-Matute J, Scheibye-Knudsen M, Fang E, Aon M, González-Reyes JA, Cortassa S, Kaushik S, Gonzalez-Freire M, Patel B, Wahl D, Ali A, Calvo-Rubio M, Burón MI, Guiterrez V, Ward TM, Palacios HH, Cai H, Frederick DW, Hine C, Broeskamp F, Habering L, Dawson J, Beasley TM, Wan J, Ikeno Y, Hubbard G, Becker KG, Zhang Y, Bohr VA, Longo DL, Navas P, Ferrucci L, Sinclair DA, Cohen P, Egan JM, Mitchell JR, Baur JA, Allison DB, Anson RM, Villalba JM, Madeo F, Cuervo AM, Pearson KJ, Ingram DK, Bernier M, de Cabo R. (2016). Effects of Sex, Strain, and Energy Intake on Hallmarks of Aging in Mice. Cell Metabolism, Jun 14;23(6):1093-1112. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.05.027.

Arifuzzman AKM, Haider MR, & Allison DB (2016). A low-power thermal-based sensor system for low air flow detection. Analog Integrated Circuits and Signal Processing, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 425–436. DOI 10.1007/s10470-016-0848-4

Williams CM, Szejner A, Morgan TJ, Edison AS, Allison DB, & Hahn DA. (2016). Adaptation to low temperature exposure increases metabolic rates independently of growth rates. Integrative and Comparative Biology, Jul;56(1):62-72. doi: 10.1093/icb/icw009. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27103615

Williams CM, McCue MD, Sunny NE, Andre Szejner-Sigal, A., Morgan TJ, Allison DB & Hahn DA. (2016). Cold adaptation increases rates of nutrient flow and metabolic plasticity during cold exposure in Drosophila melanogaster. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283 20161317. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1317. Published 7 September 2016.

Al Jothery, A. H., Vaanholt, L. M., Mody, N., Amous, A., Lykkesfeldt, J., Bünger, L., Hill, W. G., Mitchell, S. E., Allison, D. B., & Speakman, J. R. (2016). Oxidative costs of reproduction in mouse strains selected for different levels of food intake and which differ in reproductive performance. Scientific Reports, 6:36353 | DOI: 10.1038/srep36353.

Fernández, J. R., Bohan Brown, M., López-Alarcón, M., Dawson, J. A., Guo, F., Redden, D., & Allison, D. B. (in press). Changes in Pediatric Waist Circumference Percentiles Despite Reported Pediatric Weight Stabilization in the United States. Pediatric Obesity.

Cardel MI, Johnson SL, Beck J, Dhurandhar E, Keita AD, Tomczik AC, Pavela G, Huo T, Janicke DM, Muller K, Piff PK, Peters JC, Hill JO, Allison DB (2016). The effects of experimentally manipulated social status on acute eating behavior: A randomized, crossover pilot study. Physiology & Behavior, 162, 93–101. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031938416301603

Schwartz T, Pearson P, Dawson J, Allison DB, & Gohlke JM (in press). Effects of fluctuating temperatures and food availability on reproduction and lifespan. Experimental Gerontology. pii: S0531-5565(16)30171-1. NIHMIS ID 797812.

Due A, Larsen TM, Mu H, Hermansen K, Stender S, Toubro S, Allison DB, & Astrup A. (2016) The effect of three different ad libitum diets for weight loss maintenance: a randomized 18-month trial. European Journal of Nutrition. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00394-015-1116-6?wt_mc=internal.event.1.SEM.ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst [PMID: 26659070]

Fields, D. A., George, B., Williams, M., Whitaker, K., Allison, D. B., & Demerath, E. W. (in press). Associations between human breast milk hormones and adipocytokines and infant growth and body composition in the first six-months of life. Pediatric Obesity.

Lemas, D. J., Klimentidis, Y. C., Wiener, H. W., O'Brien, D. M., Hopkins, S. E., Stanhope, K. L., Havel, P. J., Allison, D. B., Fernandez, J. R., Tiwari, H., & Boyer, B. (in press). Polymorphisms in stearoyl CoA desaturase and sterol regulatory element binding protein interact with N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid intake to modify associations with anthropometric variables and metabolic phenotypes in Yup'ik people. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research.

Ro, J., Pak, G., Malec, P. A., Lyu, Y., Allison, D. B., Kennedy, R. T., & Pletcher, S. D. (2016). Serotonin signaling mediates protein valuation and aging. eLife 2016;5:e16843.

Ejima K, Li P, Smith DL, Nagy TR, Kadish I, van Groen T, Dawson JA, Yang Y, Patki A, & Allison DB (in press) Observational Research Rigor Alone Does Not Justify Causal Inference. European Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Mehta T, Pajewski NM, Keith SW, Fontaine K, Allison DB. Role of a plausible nuisance contributor in the declining obesity-mortality risks over time. Experimental Gerontology. 2016 Sep 17. pii: S0531-5565(16)30347-3. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2016.09.015. [Epub ahead of print].

Tucker RM, Kaiser KA, Parman MA, George BJ, Allison DB & Mattes RD (in press). Fatty Acid Taste Does Not Differ Between People Who Are Lean Versus Obese: A Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis. PLoS One.

Cardel MI, Pavela G, Dhurandhar E, Allison DB. (in press). Future Research Directions for the Insurance Hypothesis regarding Food Insecurity and Obesity. Brain and Behavioral Sciences.

Mattison, J. A., Colman, R. J., Beasley, T. M., Allison, D. B., Kemnitz, J. W., Roth, G. S., Ingram, D. K., Weindruch, R., de Cabo, R., & Anderson, R. M. (in press). Caloric restriction improves health and survival of rhesus monkeys. Nature Communications.

George, B., J., Li, P. Lieberman, H. R., Pavela, G., Brown, A. W., Fontaine, K. R., Jeansonne, M. M., Dutton, G. R., Idigo, A. J., Parman, M. A., Rubin, D. B., & Allison, D. B. (in press). Randomization to Randomization Probability: Estimating Treatment Effects Under Actual Conditions of Use. Psychological Methods