2019 MARS Speakers

John Blundell
Professor of PsychoBiology, Institute of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds,Leeds, UK.  

John Blundell is a highly cited investigator in the science of appetite regulation, energy balance and physical activity, and he has over 25 years experience of the management of interdisciplinary interventions involving simultaneous measurements in metabolism, physiology, energy balance, behaviour and psychology. JB’s early training was in Neuroscience –at the Institute of Neurology, University of London, and much later he became founder Director of the Institute of Psychological Sciences at the University of Leeds. In 1990 he established the Human Appetite research group ((HARU). JB has been awarded several prizes and recently has been Visiting Professor at the University of Ghent, and Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the University of Rhode Island. He was a member of Expert Group of UK government Department of Health (DoH) on the Social Marketing of Childhood Obesity, and of the Expert Group of UK government Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) Foresight Team on Tackling Obesities. In the 1980s JB helped to develop the concept of the Satiety Cascade, but for the last 20 years he has investigated the interactions between energy expenditure and energy intake, positioning appetite control within an energy balance framework and linking it to body composition. This approach places appetite control in an evolutionary context; it has demonstrated that Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is a major determinant of the drive to eat and Energy Intake, and has led to a new formulation for understanding appetite control.

Lora Heisler
University of Aberdeen
Rowett Institute

Professor Lora Heisler, FRSE, FRSB holds a Chair in Human Nutrition and is Head of the Obesity and Food Choice Research Theme at the Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen. The Heisler laboratory investigates brain circuits regulating energy homeostasis in an effort to identify new targets amenable to obesity and type 2 diabetes pharmacotherapies. Professor Heisler was awarded 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 research group to the University of Cambridge, UK in 2004 where 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.

Ruth Loos
The Charles Bronfman Professor in Personalized Medicine Director, Genetics of Obesity and Related Traits Program Co-Director, Charles Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY.

Ruth Loos is Director of the Genetics of Obesity and Related Metabolic Traits Program, and co-director of The Charles Bronfman Institute of Personalized Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Her research focuses on the etiology of obesity, in particular, on the identification of genes and genetic loci contributing to the risk of obesity and related traits. She has been involved in gene-discovery since 2005. With the GIANT (Genetic Investigation of ANTropometric traits) consortium, she has contributed to the majority of large-scale gene-discovery efforts that thus far have revealed more than 300 obesity-associated loci. Furthermore, she studies more refined adiposity phenotypes and biomarkers to reveal new biology that has not been uncovered by using traditional obesity outcomes. Besides gene-discovery, Ruth uses epidemiological methods to assess the public health implications of the established loci by examining their predictive value, interaction with lifestyle factors, and their role in precision medicine of common obesity.

Giles Yeo
University of Cambridge
Institute of Metabolic Science

Giles Yeo is from San Francisco, receiving his bachelor’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1994, he came to Cambridge joining the lab of Prof Sydney Brenner (Nobel Laureate 2002) for his PhD studies. In 1998 he began his post-doctoral training with Prof Sir Stephen O’Rahilly in the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, working on the genetics of severe human obesity. He was the first to report that mutations in the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) and in the neurotrophic receptor TRKB resulted in severe human obesity. In 2007, Giles became Director of the core Genomics/Transcriptomics facilities and a group leader at the University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Labs. Giles is also a graduate tutor and fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and is the current president of the British Society for Neuroendocrinology. His group is interested in studying the brain control of food intake and bodyweight, and how these might be dysregulated in obesity. Giles also presents science documentaries for the BBC, including ‘Horizon’ and ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’.