Dr. Leibel is Christopher J. Murphy Professor of Diabetes Research and Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and Head of the Division of Molecular Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics. He is also Co-Director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, Co-PI of the Diabetes Research Center (DRC) and, PI of the New York Obesity Research Center (NYONRC).
He is interested in the molecular physiology and genetics of body weight regulation and diabetes in humans and rodents. He and his associates have cloned and characterized a number of genes in the pathways regulating body weight and modifying diabetes susceptibility. They participated in the molecular cloning and characterization of the leptin and leptin receptor genes, and have continued to pursue the molecular physiology of the “leptin axis” in body weight regulation, recently focusing on the molecular physiology of the FTO locus in mice and humans. They identified the macrophage as the major cellular source of cytokines in adipose tissue. During the past 6 years he has worked with associates at Columbia to develop techniques for creating iPS cells from skin biopsies of patients segregating for monogenic forms of diabetes and obesity. He and his associates have succeeded in making such cells and in showing that beta cells and neurons derived from these iPSCs cells recapitulate the anticipated seminal phenotypes of the patients from whom they were derived. They are using these cells to examine the molecular pathogenesis of these phenotypes.
Dr. Leibel is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, has served on the NIDDK Council, and been an Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. His research is supported by the NIH, the New York State Stem Cell Science Program, the Foundation for Prader Willi Research, the Russell Berrie, Rudin, and Helmsley Foundations, Regeneron, Inc and Levo Therapeutics.