For Scientists Research Information

Barbara B. Kahn, M.D.

The overall goal of research in Dr. Kahn's lab is to determine the cellular and molecular mechanisms for insulin resistance in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Major research interests include discovering the mechanisms by which novel adipocyte-secreted molecules alter insulin action and fuel metabolism in other tissues; identifying novel cell signalling pathways involved in the regulation of food intake and body weight; and determining the molecular mechanisms that make obesity a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. 

Her work has had a major impact on understanding the critical role of the adipocyte as an endocrine organ and led to the discovery of a novel adipocyte-secreted protein that is linked to insulin resistance and to the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in humans. Her lab has also identified novel signaling pathways underlying the regulation of food intake, energy balance, leptin action, and insulin sensitivity. Her lab established a critical role for the AMP-activated protein kinase pathway in leptin action in both the hypothalamus and peripheral tissues. In addition, Dr. Kahn's lab, in collaboration with Ben Neel, demonstrated the importance of protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B in neural and peripheral circuits regulating energy balance and fuel homeostasis.