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Mitch Lazar, MD, PhD


Dr. Mitch Lazar is the Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases and Director of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism at the University of Pennsylvania. He received an SB degree in Chemistry from MIT and his MD and PhD from Stanford University. After training in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and in Endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Lazar joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. He served for 23 years as Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, and is the Founding Director of Penn’s Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.

Dr. Lazar’s groundbreaking research has focused on the circadian rhythms and metabolism, and he has made fundamental contributions to the fields of endocrinology, diabetes, and chronobiology. Dr. Lazar discovered the circadian nuclear receptor REV-ERBa as well as its heme ligand, transcriptional repression, and interactions with corepressors and histone deacetylases. His work has demonstrated the fundamental importance of REV-ERBs and their corepressor complex in the physiology of circadian rhythms and organismal metabolism. Dr. Lazar also discovered that another nuclear receptor, PPARγ, is predominantly expressed in adipocytes and also pioneered the linkage of PPARγ to adipocyte differentiation, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. He also led the way to a genome-wide understanding of PPARγ function, and discovered resistin as a novel adipocyte hormone that impairs insulin action and as the first member of a previously unknown family of secreted resistin-like molecules.

Dr. Lazar has given named lectures throughout the world, and has served as a member of the Board of Scientific Councilors of the NIDDK as well as many editorial and scientific advisory boards. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and its Council, and to the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and its council, which he served as President in 2020-2021. He has received numerous awards from international societies and universities, including the Stanley Korsmeyer award from the ASCI, the Transatlantic Medal from the UK Endocrine Society, the Luft Medal from the Karolinska Institute, and the Harrison Medal from the Endocrine Society of Australia. Dr. Lazar was also the recipient of the 2023 Fred Conrad Koch Lifetime Achievement Medal Award of the Endocrine Society, and the 2025 George M. Kober Medal from the AAP for his pioneering and enduring, impactful contributions to improve health. Dr. Lazar is also an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Science.

Over 35 trainees from the Lazar Lab have gone on to faculty positions, including at institutions in the United States, including University of Pennsylvania, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Washington University in St. Louis, Baylor College of Medicine, UT Southwestern, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, University of California, San Francisco, Cleveland Clinic, and Tufts University. Fifteen are in faculty positions in other countries, including universities and institutes in Austria, Denmark, Germany, France, Japan, and China. Many others have gone on to careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.