Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Spotlight on Randy Seeley, Ph.D.

New Faculty Member Joins U-M

Randy Seeley joined the faculty of the U-M Medical School in July 2014 as Professor of Surgery and Professor of Metabolism, Endodontics and Diabetes. He was previously Donald C. Harrison Professor of Medicine University at the Cincinnati College of Medicine, and Director of the Cincinnati Diabetes and Obesity Center. At U-M he will continue to search for new treatment strategies for obesity and diabetes, based on studies of peripheral hormones and their receptors that influence energy intake.

Randy has published over 260 peer-reviewed articles in such high-impact journals as Science, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Neuroscience, Science Translational Medicine, Cell Metabolism, The Journal of Clinical Investigation and The New England Journal of Medicine. He has also been recognized by numerous scientific groups such as the Obesity Society (Lilly Scientific Achievement Award), the Endocrine Society (Ernst Oppenheimer Award) and the American Diabetes Association (Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award).

He currently serves on the NIDDK Clinical Obesity Research Panel and on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science.

Randy’s recent work has included research on the effects of weight-loss surgery. Bariatric surgery is currently the most effective therapy for obesity, but it is not a practical solution to the growing epidemic of obesity around the world.

However, studies by Randy and his colleagues on such surgery in rodents has raised the possibility that manipulating gut bacteria may be an alternative, non-invasive approach to controlling weight and metabolism. In a paper published in Nature, they demonstrated that the weight loss resulting from surgery is due — not to reduced stomach size lowering caloric intake — but to changes in metabolism mediated by the nuclear receptor FXR.

These changes appear to result from increased circulating bile acids and are associated with alterations of the gut microbiome. Identifying the molecular underpinnings of the effects of weight-loss surgery has therefore opened the door to new, widely-applicable approaches of achieving the same health benefits.