The Croonian Medal and Lecture 2022 given by Sir Stephen O’Rahilly FMedSci FRS and Professor Sadaf Farooqi FMedSci FRS.
Globally, over 1 billion people are overweight or obese. Obesity and its complications are associated with significant morbidity and mortality due to type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer. While the widespread availability of high calorie, palatable food and physical inactivity are major environmental drivers of the rise in prevalence of obesity, heritable factors play a substantial role in influencing a person’s propensity to gain weight (or not), within an obesogenic environment.
In this lecture, Professors O’Rahilly and Farooqi will discuss how the identification of genes and the pathways they regulate has highlighted the fundamental role of the brain in modulating eating behaviour and body weight. They will discuss how studies of the leptin-melanocortin pathway have provided a mechanistic framework for understanding how body weight is regulated in humans, how energy status is coupled to reproduction and growth and how disruption of these neural mechanisms causes obesity. They will also discuss the impact of this work on societal perceptions of obesity and how targeting these mechanisms has provided new treatments for people with severe obesity.