Attention Joslin Patients:

Joslin Diabetes Center's COVID-19 pandemic hybrid care model allows patients to tailor their care with remote and in-person services, including telehealth visits. Please visit our main COVID-19 page for all this information in both English and Spanish. Please access COVID Pass the day of any on-site appointment to answer screening questions to receive a pass. 

Currently, Joslin does not have a supply of COVID-19 vaccine.  Vaccine availability and distribution are controlled by federal and state authorities. If the vaccine becomes available to us, Joslin will adhere to the state's plan for prioritized distribution. Please monitor the COVID-19 page on our website for updates.

Alert Close

​Dr. Yu-Hua Tseng is an internationally distinguished scientist at the forefront of research focused on brown fat biology, energy metabolism, gene expression, signal transduction, and mitochondrial biology, and how these relate to obesity and diabetes. Dr. Yu-Hua Tseng is a Senior Investigator in the Section on Integrative Physiology and Metabolism at the Joslin Diabetes Center and an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Tseng received her doctorate in Developmental Biology and Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed postdoctoral training at Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School.

Obesity, mainly characterized by increased adiposity, has reached pandemic proportions and is a major contributor to metabolic disorders. In mammals, white fat is the primary site of energy storage, while brown fat and the recruited brown-like beige fat are specialized for thermogenic energy expenditure. Owing to the great capacity of BAT to combust fuels for heat production and the presence of BAT in adult humans, increasing the amount or activity of brown or beige fat has been considered to be an appealing approach for the treatment or prevention of obesity and related metabolic disorders.

The research in Dr. Tseng's laboratory has been focusing on unraveling the role of developmental signals in brown versus white adipose cell fate, the identification and characterization of progenitor/stem cells that give rise to different adipose depots, and the integration of genetic and humeral factors on thermoregulation and whole-body energy homeostasis. Work from Dr. Tseng's lab has helped establish the role of bone morphogenetic proteins in brown fat biology. They have uncovered a novel cross-talk between the constitutive brown and recruitable beige adipose depots.

Additionally, Tseng and her colleagues demonstrated that adult human brown fat is present in defined neck locations and have identified novel genetic biomarkers in human adipose precursors that predict the thermogenic potential of the cells once they are matured. Ongoing research in Dr. Tseng's laboratory continues to explore brown and beige fat in physiological and patho-physiological conditions and has taken a broad-based approach to understand the mechanisms that underlie these processes, including cellular and molecular analysis, transgenic models, in vitro and in vivo imaging and '-omic'.profiling.

Dr. Tseng was an Eleanor and Miles Shore Scholar in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a recipient of the Armen Tashjian Award for Excellence in Endocrine Research. She serves, or has served on, the grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health, the American Diabetes Association, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command, and the European Research Council.

Contact Information

Office Phone

(617) 309-2573

yu-hua.tseng [at]

News Related to Yu-Hua Tseng

Transplanted brown-fat-like cells hold promise for obesity and diabetes

Studies in mice offer a proof of concept that ‘HUMBLE’ cells, created from human white fat, can treat metabolic diseases. BOSTON – (August 26, 2020) – Obesity is the main cause of type 2 diabetes and...
Read more on Transplanted brown-fat-like cells hold promise for obesity and diabetes

Different kinds of white fat are important in disease

Multiple populations of subcutaneous white fat cells each may play different roles in obesity, diabetes and other diseases. BOSTON – (May 1, 2020) – Excess white fat causes obesity, which in turn can...
Read more on Different kinds of white fat are important in disease

Brown fat can burn energy in an unexpected way

The discovery that immature fat cells can generate heat without gathering fat may open opportunities to treat obesity and diabetes.
Read more on Brown fat can burn energy in an unexpected way