David Allison

Provost Professor
Epidemiology and Biostatistics

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. He became Dean and Provost Professor at the Indiana University-Bloomington School of Public Health in 2017. Prior he was Distinguished Professor, Quetelet Endowed Professor, and Director of the NIH-funded Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

He has authored over 500 scientific publications and received many 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. In 2012, he received an NIH Director's Transformative Research Award entitled "Energetics, Disparities, & Lifespan A unified hypothesis".

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 many editorial and currently serves as associate editor or statistical edutor for Obesity; International Journal of Obesity; Nutrition Today; Obesity Reviews; Public Library of Science (PLOS) Genetics; Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases (SOARD), and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Dr. Allison is also proud to be the founding Field Chief Editor of Frontiers in Genetics.

Prof. 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
  • Elected to the Academia Europaea, 2017. Academia Europaea is the only Europe-wide Academy with individual membership from Council of Europe states and other nations across the world and is an organisation of eminent, individual scientists and scholars, covering the full range of academic disciplines.
  • Selected to receive the Thomas A. Wadden Award for Distinguished Mentorship from the Obesity Society, 2017.
  • Elected a fellow to the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, 2017.
  • Received Texas A&M Department of Health & Kinesiology Scholar Award, the department’s highest honor bestowed to colleagues in the field and delivered Distinguished Lecture, April, 2017. 
  • 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.
Press, Press Releases, and Special Announcements in Last 3 Years
  1. Dean David B. Allison invited to join the Academy of Europe, Academia Europea (IU School of Public Health, September 8, 2017)
  2. IU School of Public Health-Bloomington names new dean: David B. Allison (IU News, June 16, 2017)
  3. Should we treat obesity like a contagious disease? (Science, AAAS, Feb. 19, 2017)
  4. David Allison and colleagues' paper tops list of best comment pieces for 2016 by Nature editors (School of Health Professions, December 28, 2016 )
  5. David Allison to deliver Corcoran Lecture at IU School of Medicine.(UAB School of Health Professions, October 17, 2016)
  6. UAB professor recognized for achievements in nutrition research. (UAB News, August 19, 2016)
  7. We're So Confused: The Problems With Food and Exercise Studies. (The New York Times, August. 11, 2016)
  8. David Allison on Problems in Obesity, Nutrition Research. (The Downey Obesity Report, July 13, 2016)
  9. Study shows that black men with more West African genes have lower risk of obesity. (AAAS, June 1, 2016)
  10. Study shows that black men with more West African genes have lower risk of obesity (UAB News, June 1, 2016)
  11. Could a Few Extra Pounds Help You Live Longer? (Scientific American, May 10, 2016)
  12. Common scientific and statistical errors in obesity research. (SOPH, March 30, 2016)
  13. Ten major errors in obesity research discussed (UAB News, March 30, 2016)
  14. Want to correct the scientific literature? Good luck. (Retraction Watch, February 3, 2016)
  15. Reproducibility: A tragedy of errors (Nature, February 3, 2016)
Selected Publications

(2016 only)

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.

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, Jun;40(6):895-8. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2015.212.

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. Childhood Obesity, Apr;12(2):155-8. doi: 10.1089/chi.2015.0222.

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.

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. PMCID: PMC5397122.

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.

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

Fernández, J. R., Bohan Brown, M., López-Alarcón, M., Dawson, J. A., Guo, F., Redden, D. T., and Allison, D. B. (2016) Changes in pediatric waist circumference percentiles despite reported pediatric weight stabilization in the United States. Pediatric Obesity, doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12150.

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 (2016) Observational Research Rigor Alone Does Not Justify Causal Inference. European Journal of Clinical Investigation, Dec;46(12):985-993. doi: 10.1111/eci.12681.

Mehta T, Pajewski NM, Keith SW, Fontaine K, Allison DB. (2016). Role of a plausible nuisance contributor in the declining obesity-mortality risks over time. Experimental Gerontology, Dec 15;86:14-21. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2016.09.015.

Richardson, M. B. Williams, M. S., Fontaine, K. R., & Allison, D. B. (2017). The development of scientific evidence for health policies for obesity: why and how? International Journal of Obesity, Jun;41(6):840-848. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.71.

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. (2017). Caloric restriction improves health and survival of rhesus monkeys. Nature Communications, Jan 17;8:14063. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14063.

Pavela, G., Lewis, D. W., Dawson, J. A., Cardel, M., & Allison, D. B. (2017). Social Status and Energy Intake: A Randomized Controlled Experiment. Clinical Obesity, doi:10.1111/cob.12198.

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. Raw data posted at: https://www.openicpsr.org/openicpsr/project/100640