Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Kahn, C. Ronald
Location Harvard University
Primary Field Medical Physiology and Metabolism
Secondary Field Cellular and Developmental Biology
 Election Citation
Kahn is the preeminent investigator of insulin signal transduction and mechanisms of altered signaling in disease. His laboratory produced multiple seminal observations regarding the insulin receptor kinase, its substrates, the molecular components of the insulin signaling network, and their alterations in disease. This body of work revolutionized the field.
 Research Interests
My laboratory has been investigating the mechanism of insulin action and its alterations in insulin resistant states, including type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome for over 35 years. There are four major areas of research: 1) Understanding insulin action and insulin resistance. In this area we have projects focusing on the insulin receptor itself, the insulin receptor substrate proteins and the kinase pathways downstream IRS proteins, which are central to insulin?s metabolic actions. In this area, we have made multiple genetically modified mice, as well as genetically modified cell lines. 2) Adipose tissue development and function, how it affects insulin sensitivity and risk of metabolic disease. We are also studying the role of exosomally-secreted miRNAs from adipose tissue as a novel mechanism of inter-tissue communication. 3) Environmental modifiers of insulin sensitivity, especially the role of diet and the gut microbiome. In this area, we are particularly interested in metabolite changes as circulating mediators of microbial effects. 4) The role of insulin signaling in in the brain, aging and age-related diseases, including neurodegeneration, mood, and behavior.

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