A Personalized Medicine Approach to Improve Bariatric Surgery Outcomes Utilizing Psychosocial and Genetic Risk Assessments

This study investigates risk outcomes of bariatric surgery, including addiction and alcohol use disorder.

Explore the genetic and psychosocial risk factors impacting patient outcomes after bariatric surgery with a team of interdisciplinary researchers.

Project description

Bariatric surgery is an effective means to achieve significant weight loss with improvement in overall co-morbidities. However, negative outcomes do occur. Moreover, individuals can develop an increased propensity to resuming smoking and consuming drugs of abuse, such as alcohol and opioids; as well as an increased propensity for engagement in behaviors of abuse, such as gambling. However, the predictors of recidivism are not well understood. Reward Deficiency Syndrome is thought to be implicated in addiction, lending perspective as a neurobiological mechanism linked to increased risk of alcohol and substance abuse disorders. It is essential to determine the specific psychosocial and genetic risk factors that predict recidivism and overall success after surgery. The primary objective of this study is to obtain preliminary data on the genetic and psychosocial risk factors that may predict recidivism of weight regain, alcohol and substance use disorders in adults following bariatric surgery. By identifying these factors, effective strategies can be tested and put in place to maximize the success of the surgery. Additionally, data form this study can be used to provide support for the use of genetic and psychosocial screening tools to enhance precision medicine.

Project outcome

This project will provide students with the opportunity to write and submit abstract/posters as well as peer reviewed research papers.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Longer than a semester (6-9 months)
Start time Anytime 
In-person, remote, or hybrid?
Level of collaboration Small group project (2-3 students)
Benefits Academic Credit 
Who is eligible All undergraduate students 

Core partners

  • Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Pediatrics
  • Surgery
  • Endocrinology and Psychology

Project mentor

Panayotis Thanos

Senior Research Scientist

Pharmacology and Toxicology

Phone: (716) 881-7520

Email: thanos@buffalo.edu

Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Researching topics related to obesity, bariatric surgery, addiction, reward deficiency syndrome, psychosocial functioning, etc.
  • Attending meetings to discuss study progress with team members and bariatric surgeons
  • Analyzing/graphing patient data at study timepoints
  • Writing papers to summarize study results and the implications to clinical research


Pharmacology and Toxicology