UCL News


2012 Prize Lecture in Clinical Science

2 August 2012

Professor Jeffrey M. Friedman

‘To Eat or Not to Eat: Leptin and the Biologic Basis of Obesity’

This annual prize lecture series has been running for 16 years but within this short space of time has rapidly become the pre-eminent series on contemporary science in Europe.  The whole event, which provides an opportunity to debate and celebrate important scientific advancements, has always been very stimulating and hugely enjoyable.

This year the Prize Lecture was given by Professor Jeffrey M. Friedman. Prior to Jeffrey M. Friedman's ground-breaking research, little was known about the components of the biologic system that controls weight, and many scientists questioned the very existence of such a system. Dr Friedman's 1994 identification of the weight- and appetite-regulating hormone leptin, however, provided a genetic explanation of obesity and has challenged the popular belief that lack of willpower causes people to be obese. For his discovery of leptin, which ultimately opened obesity research to molecular exploration, Dr Friedman was awarded the 2010 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award.