Professor Lora Heisler
Chair in Human Nutrition
Professor Heisler investigates brain circuits regulating energy homeostasis in an effort to identify new targets amenable to obesity and type 2 diabetes medications. Professor Heisler received her PhD from Tufts University, USA in 1997 and held postdoctoral positions at the University of California, San Francisco USA from 1997-99 and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School (HMS) USA from 1999-2001. In 2001, Professor Heisler was promoted to Instructor and set up her laboratory at HMS. She then relocated her group to the University of Cambridge, UK in 2004 where they worked until 2013. In 2013, the Heisler group moved to the Rowett Institute to take advantage of the Institute’s strengths in obesity research, ranging from molecules to man.
The MOOMIN (Mechanisms Of Obesity, Metabolism, Insulin Sensitivity and Nutrition) Lab welcomes new PhD student Dhamyaa Al-Halboosi!
Prizes and Awards
Professor Heisler was the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award (OSAA) from the American Diabetes Association. Professor Heisler received the OSAA prize for her research identifying a new type of medication to improve type 2 diabetes. This prestigious award recognises research in diabetes that demonstrates particular independence of thought and originality. Her career scientific contributions include seminal discoveries in the brain control of appetite and blood sugar that demonstrate her innovation.
Professor Heisler commented: “Diabetes is such a widespread problem and it is crucial that we as scientists continue to research this disease in order to find new ways to combat it. It is extremely humbling to be recognised for our contribution to diabetes research. I work alongside many talented colleagues."
Mechanisms Of Obesity, Metabolism, Insulin Senstivity and Nutrition
The brain represents the master coordinator of appetite and energy expenditure, employing interwoven neurological circuits to continually appraise and respond to changes in energy state.
Our research aims to discover and characterise these brain circuits using cutting edge technology with the objective of locating points within the pathway that are amenable to manipulation with manmade (drug) or natural (hormone) substances.
We also examine the impact of diet and body weight on circuit rewiring and mechanisms restore appropriate system connectivity and activity.
The ultimate aim of our research is to identify new treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Cells in the brain that impact appetite Our work identifying a new treatment
for type 2 diabetes is on the journal cover
Funding and Grants
Medical Research Scotland
Frontiers of Biomedical Science - SM3002
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Appetite controlled by a cholecystokinin nucleus of the solitary tract to hypothalamus neurocircuiteLife, vol. 5, 12225Contributions to Journals: Articles
Sex difference in physical activity, energy expenditure and obesity driven by a subpopulation of hypothalamic POMC neuronsMolecular Metabolism, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 245-252Contributions to Journals: Articles
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha plays a crucial role in behavioral repetition and cognitive flexibility in miceMolecular Metabolism, vol. 4, no. 7, pp. 528-536Contributions to Journals: Articles
5-Hydroxytryptamine Medications for the Treatment of ObesityJournal of Neuroendocrinology, vol. 27, no. 6, pp. 389-398Contributions to Journals: Literature Reviews
A Parabrachial-Hypothalamic Cholecystokinin Neurocircuit Controls Counterregulatory Responses to HypoglycemiaCell Metabolism, vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 1030-1037Contributions to Journals: Articles
Leptin-inhibited PBN neurons enhance responses to hypoglycemia in negative energy balanceNature Neuroscience, vol. 17, pp. 1744-1750Contributions to Journals: Articles
5-HT obesity medication efficacy via POMC activation is maintained during agingEndocrinology, vol. 155, no. 10, pp. 3732–3738Contributions to Journals: Articles
Distribution of cells responsive to 5-HT6 receptor antagonist-induced hypophagiaBehavioural Brain Research, vol. 266, pp. 201-206Contributions to Journals: Articles
Developmental Programming Mediated by Complementary Roles of Imprinted Grb10 in Mother and PupPLoS Biology, vol. 12, no. 2, 1001799Contributions to Journals: Articles
Profiling of glucose-sensing neurons reveals that ghrh neurons are activated by hypoglycemiaCell Metabolism, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 596-607Contributions to Journals: Articles