Newswise — Thousands of leading researchers, policymakers and healthcare professionals will gather for the fifth annual ObesityWeek conference at The Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland from Oct. 29 – Nov. 2. The weeklong conference will have multiple keynote speakers and hundreds of scientific sessions addressing obesity research and medicine.

Rudolph L. Leibel, MD, will kick off ObesityWeek 2017 with the opening keynote address. Dr. Leibel has been a leader in the field of obesity research for decades. In 1994, he, along with colleagues, discovered leptin, an essential hormone that helps regulate weight. This discovery fundamentally changed the way scientists view patients with obesity, no longer believing obesity is a result of behavior. Dr. Leibel’s many contributions to obesity research are the foundation for subsequent breakthroughs in understanding the disease of obesity.

Dr. Leibel is Christopher J. Murphy Professor of Diabetes Research and Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, Head of the Division of Molecular Genetics in the Department of Pediatrics, Co-Director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, Co-PI of the Diabetes Research Center, and PI of the New York Obesity Research Center.

Dr. Leibel will be addressing Stem Cell-derived Hypothalamic Neurons in the Elucidation of the Pathogenesis of Human Obesity: A New Frontier. The brain plays a major role in the control of food intake and energy expenditure through a variety of neurological pathways, and there are several genetic variants known to impact these systems resulting in severe, early-onset forms of obesity. In his work, Dr. Leibel and his team are employing cutting-edge methods to take human obesity modeling to an entirely new level. They collected skin cells from patients with obesity and used recent advances in stem cell technology (iPSC) to create cell lines that could be grown back into neurons in order to provide insight into fighting obesity. While leaving one set of these cells with the mutations, they used genome-editing technology (CRISPR) to correct the mutations in the other set and were then able to determine the obesity-relevant cellular and molecular phenotypes. Such studies provide proof-of-concept that patient-specific in vitro model system can enable important insights into the molecular pathophysiology of human obesity and potential therapeutic targets.

Other notable scientific sessions at ObesityWeek:

George L. Blackburn, MD, PhDNutrition and Metabolism Symposium

Harvey Grill, PhDTreating the Hyperphagia Driving Obesity—Neural Mechanisms of Feeding Inhibition

Rena R Wing, PhDSuccessful Maintenance of Reduced Body Weight

Joel Elmquist, DVM, PhDHypothalamic Integration of Exercise and Metabolism

Matthew R. Hayes, PhD, Diana L Williams, PhD and Christos Mantzoros, MDThe Skinny on GLP-1: CNS Reward Pathways

Martin Binks, PhDTo Eat or Not to Eat? Your Brain Has the Answer

View the full ObesityWeek schedule

ObesityWeek is open to the media. If you would like a press pass to attend this event, please contact Robyn Gordon at [email protected].


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This press release can be published in full or in part with attribution to The Obesity Society.


About ObesityWeek

ObesityWeek is a unique, international event focused on the basic science, clinical application, surgical intervention and prevention of obesity. By combining The Obesity Society (TOS) and American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) annual meetings, ObesityWeek brings together world-renowned experts in obesity to share innovation and breakthroughs in science unmatched around the globe. Attendees will enjoy the diverse educational opportunities, networking events, and scientific synergies created through the collaboration of these leading obesity organizations. For more information, visit and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.


About The Obesity Society

The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading professional society dedicated to better understanding, preventing and treating obesity. Through research, education and advocacy, TOS is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the disease. For more information, visit and  connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Learn more about industry relationships here.