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Tony K.T. Lam, PhD
Senior Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute (TGRI)
Research Interests
As the John Kitson McIvor (1915-1942) Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research and the Canada Research Chair in Obesity, I am interested in glucose and energy homeostasis and their roles in diabetes and obesity. Our main focus has been to elucidate nutrient and hormone sensing mechanisms in the gut and the brain that regulate hepatic glucose production, hepatic VLDL-TG secretion and food intake to maintain glucose, lipid and energy homeostasis.

We have discovered that nutrient sensing in the duodenum triggers hormonal signaling and a gut-brain-liver axis to inhibit glucose production and lower plasma glucose levels. We have identified intestinal signaling defects that are acquired by diabetes and obesity and have characterized novel molecular signaling pathways that can be activated to bypass intestinal signaling defects and restore glucose homeostasis.

In addition, we have discovered that jejunual nutrient sensing is necessary for duodenal-jejunal bypass to rapidly lower glucose levels in uncontrolled diabetes. Lastly, we have unveiled novel insulin, glucagon and nutrient signaling pathways in the brain that regulate hepatic glucose production, VLDL-TG secretion and food intake.

In summary, our discoveries reveal molecular targets in the gut and the brain that may carry therapeutic potential to lower blood glucose and lipid levels and body weight in diabetes and obesity.

Additional Appointments
  • John Kitson McIvor (1915-1942) Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research

  • Canada Research Chair in Obesity

  • Full Professor, Departments of Physiology and Medicine, University of Toronto

  • Associate Director of Research, Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, University of Toronto

Selected Publications

  • Duca FA et al. Metformin activates a duodenal Ampk-dependent pathway to lower hepatic glucose production in rats. Nature Medicine 21(5):506-11, 2015 (Highlighted on the Cover).

  • Cote CD et al. Resveratrol activates duodenal Sirt1 to reverse insulin resistance in rats through a neuronal network. Nature Medicine 21(5):498-505, 2015 (Highlighted on the Cover).

  • Yue JY et al. A fatty acid-dependent hypothalamic-DVC neurocircuitry that regulates hepatic secretion of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins. Nature Commun 2015 Jan 12;6:5970.

  • Rasmussen BA et al. Jejunal leptin-PI3K signaling lowers glucose production. Cell Metab 19(1):155-161, 2014

  • Mighiu PI, Yue JT et al. Hypothalamic glucagon signaling inhibits hepatic glucose production. Nature Medicine [May 19, 2013]

  • Filippi B et al. Insulin activates Erk1/2 signaling in the dorsal vagal complex to inhibit glucose production. Cell Metabolism 16(4):500-510, 2012

  • Breen D et al. Jejunal nutrient sensing is required for duodenal-jejunal bypass surgery to rapidly lower glucose concentrations in uncontrolled diabetes. Nature Med 18(6):950-955, 2012.

  • Yue JT and Lam TKT. Lipid sensing and insulin resistance in the brain. Cell Metabolism 15(5):646-655, 2012

  • Yue JT et al. Glycine normalizes hepatic triglyeride-rich VLDL secretion by triggering the CNS in high-fat fed rats. Circ Res 110:1345-1353, 2012

  • Lam TKT. Neuronal regulation of homeostasis by nutrient sensing. Nature Medicine 16:392-395, 2010

  • Cheung G et al. Intestinal cholecystokinin controls glucose production through a neuronal network. Cell Metab 10:99-109, 2009 (cover story, TV interview).

  • Wang P et al. Upper intestinal lipids trigger a gut-brain-liver axis to regulate glucose production. Nature 452:1012-1016, 2008 (Named a 2008 Milestone in Canadian Health Research by Canadian Institutes of Health Research).

  • Caspi L et al. A balance of lipid-sensing mechanisms in the brain and liver. Cell Metabolism 6(2):99-104, 2007

  • Lam TKT et al. Regulation of blood glucose by hypothalamic pyruvate metabolism. Science 309(5736):943, 2005
  Tony  K.T. Lam

Staff and Trainees
Brittany Rasmussen
Madhu Chari
Carol Lam
Clair Yang
Danna Breen
Andrea Kokorovic
Grace Cheung
Katie Lee
Penny Wang
Teresa (Yeuk Yu) Lai

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