Mouse Phenotyping, Physiology and Metabolism Core - Staff
Rex Ahima, M.D., Ph.D., Co-Director
Dr. Ahima is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He received a BSc from the University of London, MD from the University of Ghana, and PhD from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. After his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Jack D. Weiler Hospital and Jacobi Medical Center, in the Bronx, New York, Dr. Ahima did his subspecialty training in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard Medical School in Boston, and a research fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Jeffrey S. Flier. Dr. Ahima served as an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard prior to moving to Penn in 1999.
Dr. Ahima received an Owl Club Teaching Award at Tulane University School of Medicine, Leo Davidoff Award at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Pfizer Postdoctoral Award at Harvard Medical School, and the Albert Stunkard Founder's Award at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), and the Association of American Physicians (AAP), and a fellow of the American College of Physicians (ACP), the Obesity Society (TOS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Dr. Ahima has served as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, Wellcome Foundation of the United Kingdom, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). He has served as an associate editor of Gastroenterology, and the Journal of Clinical Investigation, edited three books on obesity and metabolism, and is currently an editor of the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Year in Diabetes and Obesity, and Molecular Endocrinology.
Dr. Ahima is a member of the Endocrine Society Obesity Taskforce, and the NIDDK Clinical Obesity Research Panel. His research is focused on central and peripheral regulation of energy homeostasis, and glucose and lipid metabolism. He is interested in how adipocyte hormones, myokines and other circulating factors act in the brain and other organs. These studies have important implications for the pathophysiology of obesity and diabetes, and utilize mouse models, chemical and immunoassays, in vivo metabolic studies, neurochemistry, and tissue culture techniques. Dr. Ahima is also the director of the Penn Diabetes Research Center Mouse Phenotyping Core. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, and Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, an attending endocrinologist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and the director of the Obesity Unit of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
Joseph A. Baur, Ph.D., Co-Director;
Joseph A. Baur earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, where he studied mechanisms that limit the lifespan of cultured human cells under Drs. Jerry Shay and Woody Wright. He then moved to Harvard Medical School where he spent additional time training as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. David Sinclair. There he developed a strong interest in the regulation of aging and metabolism by sirtuins, a conserved class of enzymes that regulate lifespan in lower organisms. He was the first to show that resveratrol, a small molecule with many effects, including activation of the sirtuin SIRT1, is able to improve insulin sensitivity and extend lifespan in obese mice.
The Baur lab is interested in the basic mechanisms that lead to aging. Age is the most important risk factor for many of the diseases affecting Western society today, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders. Slowing the aging process to improve health and longevity is possible, and can be experimentally demonstrated in rodents by decreasing energy intake in the absence of malnutrition (caloric restriction), drug-treatment, or genetic manipulation. However, opportunities to translate this knowledge into better human health have been severely limited by our poor understanding of the mechanisms involved. The long-term goal of our lab is to use models of lifespan extension, including CR, drugs, and longevity genes, to elucidate the basic mechanism(s) that drive aging in mammals, with the hope that this knowledge will lead to new therapeutic approaches to improve human health and longevity.
Dr. Xiao Y. Yin, Research Specialist C