Our Research Faculty

Rudolph Leibel, MD

Rudolph Leibel, MD

Co-Director, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, Christopher J. Murphy Memorial Professor of Diabetes Research

Domenico Accili, MD

Domenico Accili, MD

Russell Berrie Foundation Professor of Diabetes

Xiaojuan Chen, MD, PhD

Xiaojuan Chen, MD, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Angela Christiano, PhD

Angela Christiano, PhD

Dermatology and Diabetes Researcher

Wendy Chung, MD, PhD

Wendy Chung, MD, PhD

Clinical Geneticist and Diabetes Researcher

Raphael Clynes, MD, PhD

Raphael Clynes, MD, PhD

Diabetes Investigator

Remi Creusot, PhD

Remi Creusot, PhD

Immunology and Diabetes Researcher

Dieter Egli, PhD

Dieter Egli, PhD

Stem Cell and Diabetes Researcher

Anthony Ferrante, MD, PhD

Anthony Ferrante, MD, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Paul Harris, PhD

Paul Harris, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD

Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD

Diabetes Investigator

Judith Korner, MD, PhD

Judith Korner, MD, PhD

Diabetes and Obesity Investigator and Clinical Endocrinologist

Utpal B. Pajvani, MD, PhD

Utpal B. Pajvani, MD, PhD

Researcher and Endocrinologist

Michael Rosenbaum, MD

Michael Rosenbaum, MD

Diabetes Investigator

Lawrence Shapiro, PhD

Lawrence Shapiro, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Lori Sussel, PhD

Lori Sussel, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Megan Sykes, MD

Megan Sykes, MD

Immunology and Diabetes Researcher

Lori Zeltser, PhD

Lori Zeltser, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Yiying Zhang, PhD

Yiying Zhang, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Rudolph Leibel, MD

Rudolph Leibel, MD

Co-Director, Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, Christopher J. Murphy Memorial Professor of Diabetes Research

Dr. Rudolph Leibel is the Christopher J. Murphy Memorial Professor of Diabetes Research, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, head of the Division of Molecular Genetics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons,  and Co-Director of the New York Obesity Research Center. Dr. Leibel’s research at the Center is focused on the molecular physiology of the regulation of body weight in rodents and humans, and on the genetics and molecular genetics of Type 2 diabetes mellitus. A graduate of Colgate University, Dr. Leibel received an M.D. from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and postgraduate training at MGH, Childrens Hospital and MIT.  He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.

Domenico Accili, MD

Domenico Accili, MD

Russell Berrie Foundation Professor of Diabetes

Dr. Domenico Accili is the Russell Berrie Foundation Professor of Diabetes at Columbia University and Director of the Columbia University Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center. A graduate of the University of Rome, his training in Internal Medicine was served at the University Hospital Gemelli, also in Rome. Since 1999, he has served on the faculty at Columbia University and as an Attending Physician at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Accili’s research has delved into the pathogenesis of diabetes, the integrated physiology of insulin action and mechanisms of pancreatic beta cell dysfunction.  He is best known for the identification of mechanisms that regulate liver glucose and lipid production, food intake, and insulin production. He has received numerous awards, including the 2003 Lilly Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement by the American Diabetes Association.

Xiaojuan Chen, MD, PhD

Xiaojuan Chen, MD, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Dr. Xiaojuan Chen is an Interim Assistant Professor of Surgical Sciences, the Director of Islet Cell Transplantation of Columbia Center for Translational Immunology, and the Director of Columbia Islet Processing Core at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Chen received her M.D. degree from Jinan University Medical College, M.S. degree in Biology from Marquette University, and Ph.D degree in Molecular and Cellular Physiology from University of Cincinnati.  She performed her postdoctoral studies at the John’s Hopkins University.  Dr. Chen came to NYP/Columbia most recently from Northwestern University School of Medicine, where she conducted basic islet biology research and directed the Human Islet Isolation and Transplantation Laboratory. Having become an expert in the exacting methodology and compliance procedures required for FDA-approved clinical cellular therapies, Dr. Chen performed islet isolation from more than 180 pancreata for clinical islet transplantation and research.   At Columbia, her laboratory utilizes islet transplantation models to explore areas of islet cellular and molecular biology that are pertinent to the development of diabetes as well as to the improvement of islet transplantation for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.  In addition, Dr. Chen will direct a nonhuman primate research program in tolerance induction to islet allografts. Using both animal models and human islets, she will play a key role in translating tolerance therapies from animal models to the clinic.  For more information on current research, please see research description and publications

Angela Christiano, PhD

Angela Christiano, PhD

Dermatology and Diabetes Researcher

The overall goal of Dr. Christiano’s research program is to understand the molecular mechanisms that control skin and hair development by studying the manner in which these processes are perturbed in human skin diseases. Dr. Christiano and colleagues have identified the first genes linked to a form of hair loss, called alopecia areata, that are associated with type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune disorders such as celiac and rheumatoid arthritis. The elucidation of the genes responsible for a disease phenotype is a key initial step in understanding disease pathogenesis and eventually in the development of novel genetic and/or cellular therapies for these diseases. Dr. Christiano obtained her B.A. in Biology from Rutgers University, her M.S. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Rutgers University/UMDNJ. She did her postdoctoral training in the Department of Dermatology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, PA, and at The Rockefeller University. She joined the Department of Dermatology at Columbia University in 1995 and is the Richard and Mildred Rhodebeck Professor of Dermatology and Genetics & Development, Vice-Chair for Basic Science Research in Dermatology and Director of the Center for Human Genetics.

Wendy Chung, MD, PhD

Wendy Chung, MD, PhD

Clinical Geneticist and Diabetes Researcher

Dr. Wendy Chung is an associate professor of pediatrics in medicine who specializes in the genetic basis of metabolic disorders such as diabetes. Dr. Chung’s research at the center focuses on the underlying genetic susceptibility to type 2 diabetes and obesity. A graduate of Cornell University, she received her MD from Cornell University and her Ph.D from the Rockefeller University.

Raphael Clynes, MD, PhD

Raphael Clynes, MD, PhD

Diabetes Investigator

Dr. Clynes is a physician-scientist and cellular immunologist who studies the contributions of immunoreceptors to dendritic cell regulation in health and disease. His research on the immunoregulation of dendritic cells in immunity and inflammation has demonstrated that autoantibodies participate in pathogenesis via Fc receptors on dendritic cells by driving T cell responses to islet antigens. In therapeutic maneuvers attempting to block this pathogenic pathway, Dr. Clynes has demonstrated by both genetic and pharmacologic approaches that the Syk kinase is an attractive and effective target in the treatment of type I diabetes. Dr. Clynes received his MD/PhD from State University of New York at Stony Brook. Prior to joining the faculty at Columbia University he was Clinical Instructor and Research Associate at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Remi Creusot, PhD

Remi Creusot, PhD

Immunology and Diabetes Researcher

Dr. Creusot works on understanding the pathology of type 1 diabetes and exploring new strategies to treat it. He was part of the team that discovered a malfunctioning gene involved in the progression of T1D. He also developed an approach to treat the disease that inhibits the inappropriate immune responses of t-cells.

A graduate of the University of Nancy in France with his BS in Biochemistry and MS in Microbiology, Dr. Creusot earned his PhD in Immunology from the University of London. He subsequently trained at Stanford University, where he was consecutively a postdoctoral fellow, a research associate and an instructor in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology.

Dieter Egli, PhD

Dieter Egli, PhD

Stem Cell and Diabetes Researcher

Dieter Egli, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow at The New York Stem Cell Foundation. Dr. Egli is also an Adjunct Associate Research Scientist in the Division of Molecular Genetics, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University, and a member of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. He received his PhD from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Dr. Egli was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Kevin Eggan, PhD at the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, Harvard University, studying reprogramming after nuclear transfer. His interest includes the generation of therapeutically relevant cells for diabetes.

Anthony Ferrante, MD, PhD

Anthony Ferrante, MD, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Dr. Ferrante, the Dorothy & Daniel Silberberg Associate Professor of Medicine, studies how metabolism activates the immune system, and how immune function affects insulin action.  He received his BA from Yale, his MD & PhD degrees from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and clinical training at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Paul Harris, PhD

Paul Harris, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Paul Harris received his undergraduate Biophysics degree from the University of California, in Berkeley, his Cell Biology graduate degree from Cornell University, and post doctoral training in peptide chemistry from The Rockefeller University. He has been a faculty member at the health sciences campus of Columbia University since 1988 where he shares a laboratory with his wife and colleague, Antonella Maffei, Ph.D.  His research interests are in the non-invasive measurements of pancreatic insulin-producing cell (beta cell) mass using PET scan in type 1 diabetes and in other forms of diabetes.

Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD

Gerard Karsenty, MD, PhD

Diabetes Investigator

Gerard Karsenty is the Paul A. Marks Professor and Chairman of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University. His laboratory has studied every aspect of skeletal biology ranging from cell differentiation to function. The overarching assumption of his current work is that the appearance of bone during evolution has changed profoundly the physiology of animals because of the energetic cost that bone modeling and remodeling entails. Thus his group has explored in the last 10 years the hypothesis that the control of bone mass and energy metabolism must be coordinated and that this coordination is done in large part by hormones like leptin and osteocalcin that appear during evolution with bone, not with energy metabolism. Dr. Karsenty is the 2010 recipient of the Richard Lounsberry Award given jointly by the National Academy of Science (USA) and the French Academy of Science. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Paris, France and completed his post-doctoral training at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in 1990.

Judith Korner, MD, PhD

Judith Korner, MD, PhD

Diabetes and Obesity Investigator and Clinical Endocrinologist

Judith Korner, M.D., Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University and Attending Physician at Columbia University Medical Center Hospital. Dr. Korner received her medical degree at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University where she also obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine, served as Chief Medical Resident, and completed her fellowship in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Columbia University Medical Center.  She is board certified in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism and is the Director of the Weight Control Center at CUMC which specializes in weight reduction treatments. Dr. Korner’s translational research is focused on the causes and treatment of obesity and the effects of weight loss through diet and bariatric surgery on appetite hormones and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Utpal B. Pajvani, MD, PhD

Utpal B. Pajvani, MD, PhD

Researcher and Endocrinologist

Dr. Utpal Pajvani is an endocrinologist with a focus in diabetes. Dr. Pajvani’s research focuses on the role of developmental pathways in the regulation of Type 2 Diabetes, and the use of existing therapeutic agents in other scientific areas in novel applications to ameliorate obesity-induced insulin resistance.  He received his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and completed his residency training in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at Columbia University.

Michael Rosenbaum, MD

Michael Rosenbaum, MD

Diabetes Investigator

Dr. Michael Rosenbaum is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Clinical Medicine and Associate Program Director of the CTSA and Clinical Research Resource at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons/the New York Presbyterian Medical Center.  In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice in pediatrics and pediatric endocrinology, Dr. Rosenbaum is conducting nationally funded clinical studies of the basic physiology underlying the regulation of body weight in humans, the clinical and molecular identification children at risk for type 2 diabetes mellitus, and developing programs within the school system to stem the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes in adolescents. A graduate of Amherst College, Dr. Rosenbaum received an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. He received the Science Unbound Foundation Award for the best paper of 2009.

Lawrence Shapiro, PhD

Lawrence Shapiro, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Dr. Lawrence Shapiro is Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Columbia University and is Jules and Doris Stein Professor of Research to Prevent Blindness in Columbia’s Edward S. Harkness Eye Institute. The focus of Dr. Shapiro’s research is on the protein biochemistry of systemic energy regulation and its failure in obesity and type 2 diabetes. A graduate of New York University, Dr. Shapiro received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Lori Sussel, PhD

Lori Sussel, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Associate Professor of Genetics and Development - Department of Genetics and Development, Columbia University; Research Scientist at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center. 

Dr. Sussel is one of the leading developmental biologists in the world. Her research group studies the molecular genetics of pancreatic beta cell development in mice embryos. She hopes that the knowledge gained from these studies will contribute to the generation of new sources of healthy beta cells for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. She received her PhD from Columbia University and completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkley and the University of California, San Francisco.

 

Megan Sykes, MD

Megan Sykes, MD

Immunology and Diabetes Researcher

Dr. Sykes joined Columbia University in April, 2010 after spending 19 years at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where she was the Harold and Ellen Danser Professor of Surgery and Professor of Medicine (Immunology) and Associate Director of the Transplantation Biology Research Center.  Dr. Sykes’ research career, during which she has published 368 papers and book chapters, has been in the areas of hematopoietic cell transplantation, achievement of graft-versus-leukemia effects without GVHD, organ allograft tolerance induction and xenotransplantation.  Her current research focuses on utilizing bone marrow transplantation as immunotherapy to achieve graft-versus-tumor effects while avoiding graft-versus-host disease, the common complication of such transplants.  Her laboratory studies in this area have led to novel approaches that have been evaluated in clinical trials.  Another major area of her current research focuses on utilization of bone marrow transplantation for the induction of transplantation tolerance, both to organs from the same species (allografts) and from other species (xenografts).  This work has resulted in the first successful trials of intentional allograft tolerance induction in humans.  At Harvard, Dr. Sykes’ laboratory worked toward the development of clinically feasible, non-toxic methods of re-educating the T cell, B cell and NK cell components of the immune system to accept allografts and xenografts without requiring long-term immunosuppressive therapy.  Her work has also extended into the area of xenogeneic thymic transplantation as an approach to tolerance induction, and into the mechanisms by which non-myeloablative induction of mixed chimerism reverses the autoimmunity of Type 1 diabetes. Her group has recently developed a model that allows them to study the pathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes and responses to therapies in mice with a human immune system. Dr. Sykes has recently been elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine.

Lori Zeltser, PhD

Lori Zeltser, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Dr. Zeltser is an assistant professor in the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center and the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.  Dr. Zeltser graduated from Princeton University and received her Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University.  She continued her research training in development neurobiology as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Andrew Lumsden at Kings College London and Claudio Stern and Thomas Jessell at Columbia University.  Her laboratory studies the development of hypothalamic circuits regulating food intake and body composition.

Yiying Zhang, PhD

Yiying Zhang, PhD

Diabetes Researcher

Dr. Yiying Zhang is an Assistant Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology at Columbia University. The research of her group is focused on the biogenesis of adipose tissue, and on the molecular physiology of leptin, an adipocyte-derived hormone that she has cloned. Dr. Zhang received her B.S. degree from Fudan University in Shanghai, and a Ph.D. degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from New York University.