Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, MD, FRS, FMedSci Recognized with Tops Research Achievement Award

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The Obesity Society Recognizes Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, MD, FRS, FMedSci for Significant Contributions to Obesity Research with the Tops Research Achievement Award

Award Ceremony Takes Place at Obesity Week, Nov. 11-16 in Atlanta


ATLANTA, GA - The Obesity Society (TOS) recently announced Stephen O’Rahilly, MD, FRS, FMedSci, Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine, as the recipient of its TOPS Research Achievement Award. This award, made possible through an annual grant from the Take Off Pounds Sensibly Foundation (TOPS), recognizes Dr. O’Rahilly for a singular achievement and contribution to research in the field of obesity.


Dr. O’Rahilly is an outstanding clinical investigator who has made major contributions to understanding the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Many of his major scientific achievements started with his clinical observations of unusual patients and led to important advances in the understanding of human physiology, the pathogenesis of obesity, and the molecular links between obesity and type 2 diabetes.


“Dr. O’Rahilly has pioneered the molecular genetic analysis of obesity by focusing on the extreme phenotypes in pediatric obesity,” said Harvey Grill, PhD, TOS President. “He and his group have made numerous discoveries regarding monogenic obesity. This work is greatly important as it links advances in animal obesity genetics with human obesity, as well as highlights genes and gene products that could become targets for treatment development. I congratulate Dr. O’Rahilly for this achievement and salute him for his significant work to help improve the lives of those affected.”


Dr. O'Rahilly's research has had its most profound impact in the field of obesity and diabetes in humans. In his research, he has creatively used sophisticated scientific techniques including in vivo physiology, molecular genetics, biochemistry and cell biology to understand the pathogenesis of obesity and what links obesity to type 2 diabetes. He discovered the first mutations causing human obesity and with his team established that several obesity genes first identified in mouse models, are also important in humans. Dr. O'Rahilly's research accomplishments have achieved wide recognition, including his election to the Royal Society in Great Britain; honorary doctorates from universities in Dublin, Dundee, Buckingham, and Warwick; and significant international awards such as the Heinrich Wieland Prize, Feldberg Prize, Rolf Luft Award, and Inbev-Baillet Latour Health Prize. Of particular importance is the fact that he has been elected as a foreign member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and was Knighted by the Queen in July 2013 for his services to medical research. Clearly, Dr. O’Rahilly’s work is pioneering and it is safe to say that he is viewed as a leader in the field of human genetics of obesity and its metabolic consequences


“It is a great honor to receive the TOPS award from the Obesity Society,” said Dr. O’Rahilly. “Although societal changes have largely driven recent increases in the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes, there are large and important differences in inter-individual susceptibility. The study of people who are particularly predisposed or resistant to metabolic disease can provide unexpected insights into the normal control of body weight and insulin sensitivity and open up new avenues for prevention and treatment.”


Dr. O’Rahilly will be presented with this award at TOS’s Annual Scientific Meeting at ObesityWeekSM, Nov. 11-16, in Atlanta, GA. ObesityWeekSM is the premier annual scientific and educational conference for obesity professionals. This year marks the first year of the largest meeting of its kind dedicated to obesity research, treatment and prevention.


TOS developed its named awards program more than a decade ago to promote, reward and encourage research in the field of obesity. Each year TOS, the leading professional society dedicated to researching, treating and preventing obesity, announces the five esteemed recipients of its named awards to recognize the honorees for their scientific achievements and contributions to the basic science, treatment and prevention of obesity. Find information about this year’s additional awardees online here.

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About The Obesity Society (TOS)

TOS is the leading scientific society dedicated to the study of obesity. TOS is committed to encouraging research on the causes, treatment, and prevention of obesity as well as to keeping the scientific community and public informed of new advances in the field. For more information please visit:

About the Welcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science at the University of Cambridge

The Institute of Metabolic Science (IMS) is a joint venture between the Welcome Trust the Medical Research Council, the University of Cambridge, and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. The IMS is unique in the UK, being focused on understanding the biological basis of diabetes, obesity and metabolic disorders, all of which are major and increasing threats to public health, and on translating these scientific discoveries into improved patient care and disease prevention.

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