Meredith Ann Marguerite Hawkins, MD
Meredith Hawkins is Professor of Medicine, the Harold and Muriel Block Chair in Medicine, and Director of the Global Diabetes Institute at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Her current research interests include the regulation of glucose production by hyperglycemia per se in type 2 diabetes mellitus, and the effects of nutrient excess on metabolic features of the insulin resistance syndrome. Challenging a generally ‘insulin-centric’ view of hepatic glucose metabolism, Dr. Hawkins has highlighted the importance of defective ‘glucose effectiveness’ to suppress glucose production in diabetes mellitus. Significantly, she proved the efficacy of several therapeutic modalities to restore this regulation in humans with diabetes: activating hepatic glucokinase, normalizing circulating fatty acid levels, and inhibiting gluconeogenesis. Recently, Dr. Hawkins provided the first evidence in humans for central regulation of glucose production (J. Clin. Invest. 2011) by performing parallel studies in humans and rodents. Her group has also made novel and important observations about the role of fatty acids in systemic inflammation, through effects on adipose tissue macrophages. Her work suggests that adipocyte-derived factors “prime” adipose macrophages to respond to nutritional regulation (Sci. Trans. Med. 2010). Additionally, Dr. Hawkins has a tremendous interest in the burgeoning epidemic of diabetes in the developing world, and is researching the elusive phenomenon of ‘malnutrition diabetes’ in collaboration with the renowned Christian Medical College in Vellore, India. She is the recipient of the Novartis Young Investigator Award, the Outstanding Investigator Award from American Federation for Medical Research, and is a Beeson Scholar of the American Federation for Aging Research.