About the lecture

The recent increase in the proportion of the population with obesity and/or type 2 diabetes is a matter of great concern for global public health. The rising incidence of these disorders is clearly attributable to changes in the environment that promote caloric consumption and decrease energy expenditure. However we need to understand why some individuals are susceptible to obesogenic influences while others remain resistant. Similarly, it would be helpful to have a better insight into the mechanises whereby some seriously obese people completely avoid the metabolic consequences of over-nutrition while others succumb to the disabling complications of metabolic derangement despite being only modestly obese. In this lecture I will describe how human genetics has helped to enhance our understanding of our susceptibility or resistance to obesity and its adverse metabolic consequences. The findings have broad-ranging implications for the management of individual patients, for drug development and for public health strategies.

Prof. Stephen O´Rahilly

University of Cambridge, UK

  • He is interested in the aetiology and pathophysiology of human metabolic and endocrine disease and how such information might be used to improve in the diagnosis, therapy and prevention of these diseases.

  • One major area of continuing interest is to better understand why some people are very susceptible to obesity and others seem resistant. We can learn quite a bit about this from human genetics but those discoveries need to be better integrated with growing fundamental  knowledge regarding processes controlling energy intake and expenditure.

  • He is also very interested in why people, particularly those who become obese, become resistant to the glucose lowering effects of the hormone insulin. Again the integration of human genetics with basic studies in cells and disease models will be necessary  to advance our understanding.

  • He co-direct the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science (IMS) with my colleague Professor Nick Wareham. Within the IMS, I direct the MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit. I am also Head of the University Department of Clinical Biochemistry. On the wider Cambridge Biomedical Campus, I am Scientific Director of the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre.


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