Sanford Health Fargo awarded $12 million grant from NIH

Nathan Aamodt
Sanford Health Media Relations
(701) 200-6080/

FARGO, N.D., May 20, 2021 – Sanford Research Center for Biobehavioral Research in Fargo was recently awarded a $12 million Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant from the National Institutes of Health.

COBREs support the development of biomedical and behavioral research centers of excellence. They are awarded in three separate five-year phases. The Sanford Center for Biobehavioral Research COBRE is titled: “Center of Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Eating Behavior,” and will focus on processes that lead to the development of eating disorders and obesity.

The COBRE grant from the NIH will support the development of a comprehensive center of scientific research in the area of eating disorders and related problems. This award will allow Sanford Health, along with their collaborators on the grant, North Dakota State University, the University of North Dakota and several other universities across the U.S. to develop a unique and cutting edge scientific center that could significantly impact the lives of individuals suffering from eating disorders.

“Receiving this COBRE grant and developing the Center will have a significant impact on the field of eating disorders, as well as the patients and their families who suffer from these serious disorders,” said Dr. Stephen Wonderlich, vice president and chief of behavioral health research for Sanford Research in Fargo. “We are grateful for our collaboration with North Dakota State University and the University of North Dakota on this project. This grant will also help provide training and mentoring to early career eating disorder and obesity scientists.”

The three most common types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa, have one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness. The National Eating Disorder Association estimates that 30 million Americans have suffered from eating disorders and scientific surveys reveal that one in every seven young women has had an eating disorder.

The Sanford Center for Biobehavioral Research was formed in 2018 when the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute (NRI) merged with Sanford Research and became Sanford Research North – Center for Biobehavioral Research. Before the merger, NRI had been conducting research on eating disorders and eating behavior since 1996.

For more information on Sanford’s Center for Biobehavioral Research, visit

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, one of the largest health systems in the United States, is dedicated to the integrated delivery of health care, genomic medicine, senior care and services, global clinics, research and affordable insurance. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization includes 46 hospitals, 1,500 physicians and more than 200 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations in 26 states and 10 countries. Learn more about Sanford Health’s transformative work to improve the human condition at or Sanford Health News.