How I spent my summer vacation

Photo by Gina O'Leary

And we’re back!

As Peter and I have mentioned in our recent posts, it has been a very busy summer for the two of us!  Since we don’t often share much about school/work progress here on Obesity Panacea, I thought this would be as good a time as any to let everyone know what we’ve been up to the past few months.

Getting Married

The major event for me by far was getting married to my (amazing and beautiful) girlfriend Daun.  We were extremely fortunate to have beautiful weather for the week on either side of our wedding, and even more fortunate that so many of our friends and family could join us for the ceremony.  More than one person pointed out that we are both lucky to have such wonderful families, which is certainly true.  Especially true since we held the wedding at Daun’s parents’ house, which was the perfect location, but also made the setup/take-down very labour intensive (our reception was held in two inter-connected yurts, which required the help of many people to put up and take down – if you are looking for a yurt, I can confidently say that Groovy Yurts are the people to call). And of course I am most fortunate of all for being able to marry Daun!  As Peter pointed out in his excellent speech at the reception (thanks buddy!), she has been a great influence on me in many ways, not the least of which is her insistence that my diet be at least nominally healthy (when we first met I was purchasing a few too  many dinners at 7-Eleven).  Finally, I’d just like to thank Mr Epidemiology himself, Atif Kukaswadia, for being our wonderful wedding photographer.


Aside from the wedding, this has also been a very busy summer science-wise as well.  In June I defended my thesis proposal, which means that I am now free to move forward with data collection and analysis.  I have begun collecting pilot data for the intervention study which forms the central plank of my thesis, and so far the data collection is going extremely well.  The hope is to move on with the full study this fall and winter, and to wrap up data collection by this time next year.  The plan is for the PhD itself to be complete in the next 1.5-2 years, which puts me at exactly the halfway point.

This has also been a productive summer in terms of writing, and I’ve been fortunate to submit 2 manuscripts from my work here in Ottawa and another from my MSc work at Queen’s.  Of course there is no guarantee that these manuscripts will be published, but it’s still nice to think that they might soon see the light of day (I have been working on one manuscript for so long that my working title for it was Chinese Democracy).

For his part, I know that Peter has also had an extremely busy summer with work, as well as getting better acquainted with the beautiful city of Montreal.  In addition to Obesity Panacea, our side project Science of Blogging, and his role as Health Editor at, Peter is also keeping busy with PhD Nomads, a collaboration with his partner Marina.  The site documents how Peter and Marina are attempting to live “lives that become a story worth telling“, and gives a great glimpse into their professional lives, and into their attempt to achieve work/life balance (something which many PhDs are sorely missing).  If you haven’t checked out PhD Nomads yet you really should, if for no reason other than to see Peter go hang gliding (see video below).

The Sedentary Behaviour Research Network

In addition to regular PhD-related work, a number of colleagues and I have been discussing whether there is a need for an organization devoted specifically to the study of sedentary behaviour, and what the goals of such an organization should be.   Our recent survey received very positive responses from more than 100 researchers on all 6 continents (including most of the major researchers in this area), and we are in the process of deciding the best way to move forward.  The working title for the organization is the Sedentary Behaviour Research Network (SBRN), and a provisional website can be found at (the American spelling – – will also bring you to us).  We have setup a list-serve for anyone who is interested in contributing to this organization, so please send us a note or leave a comment here if you would like to be added to the list.


Finally, September 1st marked the 1-year anniversary of PLoS Blogs, the wonderful network that hosts Obesity Panacea, as well a dozen other fantastic science blogs.  The majority of the blogs on the network are written by award-winning journalists, including former Scientific American editor-in-chief John Rennie, longtime Wired contributor Steve Silberman, Panic Virus scribe Seth Mnookin, and Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Blum (the full list is even more impressive, and can be found here).

PLoS BLoGs (aka PLoGs) has been a great home for Obesity Panacea, and we’ve really enjoyed working with PLoS and our fellow PLoGgers.  I’d like to especially thank Brian Mossop, who is our point-man on anything and everything blog-related (if you enjoy this blog network, Brian is the person to thank).  There have been several posts from our colleagues commemorating our 1-year anniversary, which are available here, here and here.  I would especially urge everyone to read anthropologist Daniel Lende’s article which seamlessly (ok, perhaps not so seamlessly) works the title of every PLoS blog into the text of his post.

In addition to our anniversary here at PLoGs, Peter and I will soon be celebrating the third anniversary of Obesity Panacea in November, which is also an exciting milestone for us. So I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who reads and/or comments here at Obesity Panacea, especially those who have followed us from our days on Blogger and Scienceblogs.  Blogging continues to be an extremely beneficial exercise for both Peter and myself, and we really appreciate everyone who takes the time read our posts or contribute their own thoughts to the discussion.

That gets you up-to-speed on just about everything that we’ve been up to the past few months!  I’m eager to get back to blogging on a regular basis, and will try my best to have at least one more post ready to go later this week.  See you then!


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2 Responses to How I spent my summer vacation

  1. Anon E. Mouse says:

    Holy crap, dude. You married Julie Bowen.