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Our Team

Deborah Clegg:

Deborah Clegg

My research has centered on the interactions between body adiposity, nutrients, and the hormones estrogen, insulin, and leptin and their influence on energy homeostasis.  Specifically, I have focused on whether fatty acids are involved in the modulation of the major bioenergetic and/or biosynthetic pathways that normally are critical for hypothalamic energy homeostasis. My expertise in the role of nutrients, specifically fatty acids, and their influence in metabolic disease resulted from my early training as a nutritionist and subsequent research carried out over the past 9 years. 

A second over-arching theme of my research is to understand the impact of sex hormones on metabolic function.  Specifically, we are testing whether androgens and estrogens are involved in the modulation of pathways that normally support metabolic function. As an Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati, I applied this expertise in physiology where I established methods to interrogate novel aspects of sex hormones and their impact on metabolism.  In April, 2008 I joined the faculty at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where I have established my independent laboratory and published two studies: 1) the impact of fatty acids in CNS insulin/leptin signaling using in vivo and in vitro techniques, and 2) a microarray analysis demonstrating sex differences in gene expression in adipose tissue between male, female, and ovariectomized female mice (Clegg et al, Journal of Clinical Investigation 2009 and Clegg et al., International Journal of Obesity 2010).  Additionally, I have authored 5 reviews on sex hormones and metabolism, and have two manuscripts currently under review at Nature Neuroscience and Nature Medicine focusing on the role of a specific estrogen receptor in the CNS and periphery, respectively, in the regulation of energy homeostasis.  My goal is to extend these findings into understanding interactions between nutrients, estrogens, and obesity with breast cancer.  I am uniquely qualified to focus on sex hormones in the control of metabolic function, which I believe will ultimately enhance our understanding of the role of estrogens in protecting against diseases associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome.

Lisa Hahner:


Since graduating in 1989 with a B.S. in Biochemistry from CSU, Lisa has worked in five different laboratories as both a research technician and a lab manager, before joining Debbie Clegg and the Touchstone Diabetes Center in April 2008. Projects Lisa has been involved with include GABA B receptor biology, the Human Genome Project and estrogen receptor function in endothelial cell biology. Since joining the Clegg lab, Lisa has expanded her experience to include biology of the adipocyte as well as further expanding upon her experience with estrogen receptors.

Eugenia Morselli

I received my Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Paris-Sud 11 with a thesis regarding the study of the connexions between autophagy, cancer and aging. I’ve just moved to Dr. Clegg’s laboratory as Post Doctoral fellow, where I will focus on the correlation between obesity and cancer development.

Min Kim

I earned my PhD in Molecular Genomic Medicine from Seoul National University College of Medicine. Then I spent two years at the Genome Research Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Disease as a postdoc. Currently, I am working as a postdoc in UTsouthwestern medical center (Clegg’s lab). I have main interest in the role of estrogen and estrogen receptor in neuroprotection. I am very happy to be here and to have the opportunity.

Michael Neinast

I graduated from Texas A&M with a B.S. in Biology and subsequently began working in Dr. Clegg’s lab in the Spring.  The combination of exciting research opportunities and a friendly, capable team attracted me to this lab.  I am eager to contribute and develop skills useful for a career in biological sciences before pursuing further education.