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Richard Bergman, PhD, Appointed Director of Cedars-Sinai's Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute

Internationally renowned expert pioneered application of engineering technology to understand diabetes

Richard Nathan Bergman, PhD, an internationally renowned expert in diabetes and obesity research, has been named director of the Cedars-Sinai Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute. Bergman will also join Cedars-Sinai’s Department of Biomedical Sciences and its Department of Medicine as a distinguished research scientist.

Bergman joins Cedars-Sinai from the University of Southern California, where he served as the Keck Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics, as well as professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at USC’s Keck School of Medicine.

An influential diabetes researcher for more than three decades with more than 300 peer-reviewed published papers, Bergman pioneered the use of engineering technology to understand mechanisms leading to development of diabetes.

He developed the “minimal model,” which describes how insulin reacts in the body and has become the standard for determining causes of diabetes. By applying engineering principles to develop a mathematical model of the relationships between insulin secretion, insulin action and other metabolic factors, he made it possible to create a comprehensive and integrated picture of metabolic function in a patient. Clinical testing using this model is now the most powerful predictor of future development of Type 2 diabetes.

Bergman’s laboratory also was the first to demonstrate insulin’s important indirect control of liver glucose production and the importance of insulin transport from blood to the cells in patients with insulin resistance syndrome.

“With diabetes and obesity at epidemic levels in America, Dr. Bergman’s leadership and research will be invaluable to Cedars-Sinai’s ongoing scientific and clinical work, as well as our ability to discover new approaches to treating these serious problems,” said Shlomo Melmed, MB ChB, senior vice president for academic affairs, dean of the medical faculty at Cedars-Sinai and the Helene A. and Philip E. Hixon Chair in Investigative Medicine. “We are delighted that he will be joining our distinguished group of researchers and physicians.”

Bergman has earned numerous honors and awards over the course of his career, including the Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement from the American Diabetes Association; the Naomi Berrie Award from Columbia University Medical Center; the NIH Merit Award; the TOPS Research Award from the North American Association for Study of Obesity; the Man of Distinction Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Diabetes Association; the Joseph Globus Award from Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and the Lilly Award as Outstanding Researcher in Diabetes.

Bergman has served as editor-in-chief of Obesity, the official research publication of The Obesity Society. He also has served on the editorial boards of: DIABETES; the American Journal of Physiology; Diabetes Technology and Therapeutics; and News in Physiological Sciences. He holds an undergraduate degree in engineering from Case-Western Reserve University in Cleveland and a PhD in Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and an estimated 79 million more have prediabetic conditions. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.