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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Lorcaserin improves glycemic control via a melanocortin neurocircuitMolecular Metabolism, vol. 6, no. 10, pp. 1092-1102Contributions to Journals: Articles
Activation of Ventral Tegmental Area 5-HT2C Receptors Reduces Incentive MotivationNeuropsychopharmacology, vol. 42, no. 7, pp. 1511-1521Contributions to Journals: Articles
Activation of Serotonin 2C Receptors in Dopamine Neurons Inhibits Binge-like Eating in MiceBiological Psychiatry, vol. 81, no. 9, pp. 737-747Contributions to Journals: Articles
Increased alternate splicing of Htr2c in a mouse model for Prader-Willi syndrome leads disruption of 5HT2C receptor mediated appetiteMolecular brain, vol. 9, no. 1, 95Contributions to Journals: Articles
Intracerebroventricular Catalase Reduces Hepatic Insulin Sensitivity and Increases Responses to Hypoglycemia in RatsEndocrinology, vol. 157, no. 12, pp. 4669–4676Contributions to Journals: Articles
Serotonin engages an anxiety and fear-promoting circuit in the extended amygdalaNature, vol. 537, pp. 97-101Contributions to Journals: Articles
Chronic Activation of γ2 AMPK Induces Obesity and Reduces β Cell FunctionCell Metabolism, vol. 23, no. 5, pp. 821-836Contributions to Journals: Articles
5-HT2Aand 5-HT2C receptors as hypothalamic targets of developmental programming in male ratsDevelopment, vol. 143, no. 8, pp. 401-412Contributions to Journals: Articles
5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors as hypothalamic targets of developmental programming in male ratsDisease Models & Mechanisms, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 401-412Contributions to Journals: Articles
Appetite controlled by a cholecystokinin nucleus of the solitary tract to hypothalamus neurocircuiteLife, vol. 5, 12225Contributions to Journals: Articles