TORS Investigators – Team 1

Central Regulators of Energy Metabolism

Lead Investigator

Joel Elmquist, D.V.M., Ph.D., has identified new CNS pathways that contribute to the regulation of body weight. He has developed a series of genetically modified mice that provide key reagents for dissecting the relative roles of different hypothalamic signaling pathways in feeding and satiety. He was recruited from Harvard to direct a Center for Hypothalamic Research to study obesity at UT Southwestern. He is Chair of the Integrative Physiology of Obesity and Diabetes Study Section.

Associate Investigators

Michael Lutter, M.D., Ph.D., former Psychiatry faculty member, focuses his research on interactions between feeding systems and mood/reward centers in the brain.

Bassil M. Kublaoui, M.D., Ph.D., former Pediatrics faculty member, was supported by the P20 as a fellow. 

Masashi Yanagisawa, M.D., Ph.D., is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and a former Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He discovered both the ligands and the receptors for endothelins and orexins, two key hormonal systems that regulate vascular tone and arousal.

Jeffrey Zigman, M.D., Ph.D., is an endocrinologist whose current studies are focused on delineating the mechanisms by which the hormone ghrelin influences body weight, pleasurable aspects of eating and mood, as well as the mechanisms that regulate ghrelin secretion.

Andrew Zinn, M.D., Ph.D., is a human geneticist who discovered that mutations in single-minded 1 (SIM1), a protein expressed in the hypothalamus, causes early-onset obesity in humans.