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The track’s course work and activities will supplement those of the student’s home program. By the end of training, students will be able to:

  • Perform original, basic science research on the hormonal, neuronal, and biochemical processes underlying normal metabolism and the metabolic derangements that lead to and result from disease states
  • Employ cutting-edge, state-of-the-art techniques in their research projects
  • Conduct critical assessments of metabolism-focused scientific literature and apply the latest findings to their own research
  • Convey their research findings and the implications of their research findings to the academic community in the form of poster and oral presentations at local, national, and international settings and in the form of peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts

Course Descriptions

Metabolism Masterclass

  • This seminar series will provide an intimate setting for students to interact with the many exceptional principal investigators on campus performing metabolism research.
  • The lecturer of the day will lead a discussion focusing on a key paper from her/his career, during which the lecturer will reflect on the scientific process, context, and background for the study, while also reviewing the techniques used, results, and conclusions.
  • Speakers in this seminar series during 2020-2021 included: Drs. Mike Brown, Helen Hobbs, Joe Takahashi, Joel Elmquist, Philipp Scherer, Lora Hooper, Steven Kliewer, and Ralph DeBerardinis.

  • Speakers in this seminar series during 2021-2022 included: Drs. David Mangelsdorf, Jay Horton, Philip Shaul, Ezra Burstein, Russell Debose-Boyd, Ildiko Lingvay, and Melanie Cobb

  • Speakers during the 2022-2023 academic year (2nd Tuesday of each month) are as follows:

September – Dr. Joe Goldstein
October – Dr. Sarah Huen
November – Dr. Yuh Min Chook
December – Dr. Josh Mendell
January – Dr. Lee Kraus
February – Dr. Kim Orth
March – Dr. Nan Yan
April – Dr. Joachim Herz

Manifestations and Pathogenesis of Metabolic Diseases

  • Each session of this course will be devoted to a metabolic disease, with the first half of the session focused on the clinical description of the disease ("Manifestations") and the second half of the session focused on the biological mechanisms that cause the disease ("Pathogenesis")
  • Both clinician-scientists and basic science researchers will serve as lecturers.
  • There will be one speaker who provides the Manifestations description (30 min) and a second speaker who provides the Pathogenesis description (30 min).  Thus, each pair of speakers will collectively devote 1 hour of their time in front of the students.
  • The metabolic diseases covered will include type 1 diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, fatty liver disease, dyslipidemia, atherosclerosis, eating disorders, obesity and diabetes genetic syndromes, cancer cachexia, lipodystrophy, cancer, and metabolic bone disease, among others.
  • There will be very short quizzes after each class to reinforce some of the major take-home messages (with questions to be provided by the Speakers)
  • No homework. No mandatory papers to read or write. No student presentations.
  • The classes will be taught live.
4:00 to 5:00PM
“Manifestations” speaker“Pathogenesis” speaker
Diabetes July 14 Dr. S. Ali Dr. P. Bickel
Obesity July 21 Dr. J. Almandoz Dr. K. Williams
Genetic Forms of Obesity/Eating Disorders July 28 Dr. J. Zigman Dr. J. Elmquist
Lipodystrophy Aug. 4 Dr. N Patni Dr. A. Garg 
Fatty Liver Disease Aug. 11 Dr. T. Kerr Dr. S. Burgess
Dyslipidemia Aug. 18 Dr. Z. Ahmad Dr. R. Debose-Boyd
Obesity as a risk factor for Cancer Aug. 25 Dr. E. Huang Dr. P. Scherer
Cancer Cachexia Sept. 1 Dr. P. Iyengar Dr. R. Infante

Central Nervous System Control of Metabolism Journal Club (resumes Fall 2023)

  • This journal club will highlight some of the key papers that have framed our current understanding of the CNS regulation of eating, body weight, and blood glucose.
  • Goals are to familiarize participants with:
    • The specific neuronal circuits involved in these processes
    • State-of-the-art neuroanatomical and related techniques used to determine the neurons that comprise these circuits
    • The gut-brain axis, including the peripheral hormones and organs that interact with the CNS as part of the regulation of metabolism, and
    • The seminal papers and thought leaders in this field.
  • Discussions of the journal articles will be led by the students and moderated by faculty. (Drs. Zigman and K. Williams)

Introduction to the UT Southwestern Core Facilities Workshop (begins 2023-2024)

  • This workshop will enable students to gain familiarity with the platforms and techniques offered through the UT Southwestern Core Facilities related to metabolism.
  • The workshop will be designed such that the participants can visit the sites where the cores are housed to learn about the available platforms and techniques, to observe first-hand the machinery and techniques in use, and to interact with the core directors and staff.
  • Participants will also get instructions from the core staff regarding considerations for study design and practical aspects of analyzing the data produced by the cores.
  • As examples, the participants will observe the staff performing a hyperinsulinemic-hypoglycemic clamp, and the participants will observe our TSE metabolic chamber setup and will receive practical guidance regarding how best to analyze the voluminous sets of locomotor activity, food intake, and indirect calorimetry data.
  • This workshop will be staffed by the personnel of the cores who carry out and direct the studies.