News Release

(PHILADELPHIA) – Mitchell Lazar, MD, PhD, a pioneer in the field of endocrinology and diabetes research, and the founding director of the Penn Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism (IDOM), will receive the 2019 Rolf Luft Award from the Karolinska Institute. As part of this honor, Lazar will present the Luft Prize Lecture, entitled, “Nuclear Receptors, Circadian Rhythms, and Metabolism,” on Wednesday, May 8, at the Nobel Forum in Stockholm, Sweden.

Lazar, the Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases and chief of the division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, is receiving the award for his groundbreaking work in transcriptional regulation of metabolism, including discoveries that revealed how the environment interacts with the genome to regulate circadian rhythms and metabolism, and how these mechanisms impact obesity and diabetes.

His scientific research – focused mostly on gene and metabolic regulation and mechanisms of hormone action – has led to discoveries that span molecular biology, physiology, endocrinology and metabolism. Over the course of his career, Lazar’s work has led to discoveries of the hormone resistin – which plays an integral role in insulin resistance – and the role of the nuclear receptor PPARg in the development and function of fat cells, including its link to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. He also discovered the circadian nuclear receptor Rev-erba and identified mechanisms by which it represses gene transcription as a core circadian clock component and controller of metabolic rhythms. 

Lazar has received numerous awards from international societies and universities over the past 30 years, including the 1995 Richard E. Weitzman Memorial Award from the Endocrine Society, which recognizes promising new investigators in the field of endocrinology. He has been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the National Academy of Medicine and then American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Lazar is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, where he completed his undergraduate and doctorate degrees, respectively. He completed his medical residency and Endocrinology Fellowship through Harvard University at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts.


Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $425 million awarded in the 2018 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Home Care and Hospice Services, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.

Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 40,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2018, Penn Medicine provided more than $525 million to benefit our community.

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