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William Black Medical Res. Building
Room 904
650 W. 168th St.
New York, NY   10032

Phone: 212-305-3725

-Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
-Department of Medicine
-Division of Endocrinology

Insurance Plans
AmeriHealth HMO/POS
Blue Choice PPO
Blue Cross Prestige
Blue Cross Senior
Comm Premier Plus
Oxford POS

Hospital Affiliations
New York-Presbyterian Hospital

Sharon Wardlaw, M.D.
Professor of Medicine

Research Summary
Neuroendocrine control of pituitary function. Hypothalamic regulation of energy homeostasis.

Research Activities
The Central Melanocortin System and the Regulation of Energy Balance
The long-term objective of this project is to understand how the brain senses levels of peripheral energy stores and integrates these signals to maintain energy balance. This project focuses on the melanocortin neuropeptide system which plays a key role in regulating appetite and body weight and is an important target for leptin and insulin in the hypothalamus. Studies center on the regulation of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and the POMC-derived peptides, α-MSH, γ-MSH and ß-EP, together with agouti related protein (AgRP) which is synthesized in the hypothalamus and is a potent antagonist of the MSH peptides. Transgenic and knockout mouse models are being used to study role of the melanocortin system in modulating metabolic responses to energy excess on a high fat diet and to food restriction and to characterize underlying mechanisms with respect to changes in body weight/composition and glucose and fat metabolism with a focus on energy expenditure and fuel oxidation. An important focus is on the regulation pf POMC peptide processing with respect to energy balance. These studies are highly relevant to human energy balance as mutations in POMC, POMC processing enzymes and in melanocortin receptors have all been associated with human obesity and there are many parallels with rodent models of melanocortin deficiency.

Cerebrospinal Fluid Neuropeptide, Hormonal and Metabolomic Analysis in Human Energy Balance
This project focuses on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) POMC and AgRP measurements as a surrogate for hypothalamic melanocortin activity, as related to CSF leptin, insulin and nutrient levels. Recent studies in the rodent show that levels of the intact POMC prohormone in CSF reflect hypothalamic POMC activity. We have confirmed that the POMC prohormone is the predominant POMC peptide in human CSF and are examining the relationship of CSF POMC to BMI and adiposity. An important goal is to identify biomarkers in CSF that could predict responses to dieting and to pharmacotherapy for obesity that target the melanocortin system.

New Approaches to the Diagnosis of Cushing’s Disease
New assays are being evaluated that will improve the differential diagnosis of ACTH-dependent Cushing’s syndrome based on tumor specific differences in the processing of ACTH and its precursor, proopiomelanocortin (POMC). This is being evaluated in conjunction with petrosal sinus sampling in order to develop a less invasive way to distinguish between pituitary and ectopic sources of ACTH secretion.

Positions & Appointments
2006-present Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Professor of Medicine Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons New York, NY
1999-present Professor, Department of Medicine Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons New York, NY
1999-present Director, Neuroendocrine Unit Columbia University Medical Center New York, NY
1989-1998 Associate Professor, Department of Medicine Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons New York, NY
1999-present Attending Physician New York Presbyterian Hospital New York, NY

Education and Training
1966-1970 B.S., Biochemistry Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
1971-1975 M.D. Cornell University Medical College, Ithaca, NY

Honors and Awards
1983 Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award
2007 Ewig Teaching Scholars Award

Committees and Society Memberships
Diplomate, American Board of Internal Medicine
Diplomate, Subspecialty Board of Endocrinology and Metabolism
The Endocrine Society
Pituitary Society
The Obesity Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Selected Publications:
1. Page-Wilson G, Reitman-Ivashkov E, Meece K, White A, Rosenbaum M, Smiley RM, Wardlaw SL. (2013) Cerebrospinal fluid levels of leptin, proopiomelanocortin and agouti-related protein in human pregnancy: Evidence for leptin resistance. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 98:264-271

2. Dutia R, Meece K, Dighe S, Kim AJ, Wardlaw SL (2012) ß-Endorphin antagonizes the effects of α-MSH on food intake and body weigh. Endocrinology 153:4246-4255

3. Wardlaw, SL. (2011) Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin processing and the regulation of energy balance. European J of Pharmacology 660:213-219

4. Plum L, Lin HV, Dutia R, Tanaka J, Aizawa KS, Matsumoto M, Kim AJ, Cawley NX, Paik J, Loh YP, DePinho RA, Wardlaw SL, Accili D. (2009) The obesity susceptibility gene Cpe links FoxO1 signaling in hypothalamic pro-opiomelanocortin neurons with regulation of food intake. Nature Medicine 15:1195-1201

5. Lee M, Kim A, Chua SC, Obici, S, Wardlaw SL. (2007) Transgenic MSH overexpression attenuates the metabolic effects of a high fat diet. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 293:E121-E131

6. Vulliemoz N, Xiao E, Xia-Zhang L, Ferin M, Wardlaw SL. (2006) Melanocortin modulation of inflammatory cytokine and neuroendocrine responses to endotoxin in the monkey. Endocrinology 147:1878-1883

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