Deborah Clegg, PhD

Professor, Biomedical Sciences

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Deborah Clegg, PhD

Professor, Biomedical Sciences

Deborah Clegg, PhD, is a professor in the Cedars-Sinai Division of General Internal Medicine and Department of Biomedical Sciences. Her research focus is on understanding the impact of sex hormones on energy homeostasis, metabolic function and adipose tissue distribution. Specifically, her lab researches whether androgens and estrogens are involved in the modulation of the major bioenergetic or biosynthetic pathways that normally support energy homeostasis and adipose tissue function. There are sex differences with respect to body fat distribution and prevalence of the metabolic syndrome. Disease prevalence changes over the course of the lifespan due to fluctuations in sex hormone levels. During her postdoctoral education at the University of Cincinnati, Clegg obtained strong guidance in intermediary metabolism, and her research focused on the consequences of impaired metabolism to energy homeostasis. Clegg mastered techniques to evaluate physiology in cells and whole animals. As an assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati, she applied this expertise in physiology where she established methods to interrogate novel aspects of sex hormones and their impact on metabolism. This work was funded by a National Institutes of Health R01 grant, which focuses on the role of estrogen in the central nervous system to regulate food intake and body weight. Clegg's work was later funded by Society for Women's Health Research's Interdisciplinary Studies in Sex-Differences Networks. These funds were to be used to focus on sex differences in gene expression in adipose tissues. New principles emerging from this work suggest that specific metabolic pathways are influenced by sex hormones and are necessary for the development of adipose tissue function and metabolism. In July 2014, Clegg joined the faculty at Cedars-Sinai, where she has established her independent laboratory.

  • Undergraduate: Oregon State University, 1986
  • Doctorate: University of Georgia, 2000
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 2014
  • Distinguished Researcher Award, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 2010
  • Neinast MD, Frank AP, Zechner JF, Li Q, Vishvanath L, Palmer BF, Aguirre V, Gupta RK, Clegg DJ. Activation of natriuretic peptides and the sympathetic nervous system following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass is associated with gonadal adipose tissues browning. Mol Metab. 2015;4(5):427-436.
  • Palmer BF, Clegg DJ. The sexual dimorphism of obesity. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2015;402:113-119.
  • Morselli E, Fuente-Martin E, Finan B, Kim M, Frank A, Garcia-Caceres C, Navas CR, Gordillo R, Neinast M, Kalainayakan SP, Li DL, Gao Y, Yi CX, Hahner L, Palmer BF, Tschöp MH, Clegg DJ. Hypothalamic PGC-1α protects against high-fat diet exposure by regulating ERα. Cell Rep. 2014;9(2):633-645.
  • Kim M, Neinast MD, Frank AP, Sun K, Park J, Zehr JA, Vishvanath L, Morselli E, Amelotte M, Palmer BF, Gupta RK, Scherer PE, Clegg DJ. ERα upregulates Phd3 to ameliorate HIF-1 induced fibrosis and inflammation in adipose tissue. Mol Metab. 2014;3(6):642-651.

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