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Dr. Roger Cone

Roger Cone, PhD
Chairman of Molecular Physiology
Director, Institute for Obesity and Metabolism
Vanderbilt University

Dr. Roger Cone joined the Vanderbilt faculty in August 2008 as Chairman of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity and Metabolism. Prior to this, he was director of the Center for the Study of Weight Regulation (CSWR) at Oregon Health and Science University, and Senior Scientist at the Vollum Institute. Dr. Cone received his BA at Princeton University and PhD in biology from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Cone began his studies in endocrinology as an Assistant Professor at New England Medical Center and then spent 18 years at the Vollum Institute, before starting the CSWR research center in 2006. Dr. Cone and his colleagues cloned melanocortin receptors, characterized their roles in pigmentation and energy homeostasis, and demonstrated that the agouti protein was an endogenous antagonist of these GPCRs. This led to their discovery of the function of the central melanocortin system, the critical leptin-responsive neural circuit that coordinates much of feeding behavior and energy expenditure in mammals to achieve long-term energy homeostasis. Mutations in the melanocortin-4 receptor are now known to be the major cause of severe obesity in humans, responsible for about 5% of cases.

Dr. Cone has received numerous awards for his research, including the Ernst Oppenheimer Award of the U.S. Endocrine Society, the Berthold Memorial Award, of the German Endocrine Society, the Ipsen Prize in Endocrinology, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation Freedom to Discover Grant Award, and the Berson Award from the American Physiological Society.