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U-M Brehm Investigators

Santiago Schnell
"The best science is collaborative and interdisciplinary.  That is why I am excited to be a U-M Brehm Investigator and have the opportunity to work together with such a talented group of scientists and clinicians, who each bring their unique expertise and perspective to solving the puzzles of diabetes onset and progression.  Through our combined efforts, we hope to discover new and more effective treatments for both type 1 and 2 diabetes, the latter by attacking its major risk factor, obesity."


Malcolm Low, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes
U-M Brehm Investigator
Low Lab


The University of Michigan welcomed Dr. Malcolm Low to the team in September 2009. Dr. Low is Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and Professor of Internal Medicine.  Previously he was Senior Scientist and Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Weight Regulation, Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience, and Scientist in the Vollum Institute for Advanced Biomedical Research at Oregon Health & Sciences University, Portland.


Dr. Low received his undergraduate degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He obtained his medical degree from Albany Medical College, where he was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, and his doctorate in neuroscience from Tufts University. He completed his residency in medicine at the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago and was a clinical and research fellow in Neuroendocrinology at the New England Medical Center in Boston under the mentorship of Drs. Seymour Reichlin and Richard Goodman.

He is an internationally recognized expert in the generation and analysis of mutant mouse models for neuroendocrine disorders and uses a combination of molecular genetic, endocrine, anatomic and behavioral approaches to characterize the physiological functions of neuropeptides, dopamine and their G-protein coupled receptors that are highly expressed in hypothalamic neural circuits.  Much of Dr. Low’s current research focuses on the hypothalamic neurons that produce peptide transmitters from the proopiomelanocortin gene.  These POMC neurons play a critical role in the regulation of appetite and metabolism and dysfunction in their associated neural circuits produces morbid obesity and type 2 diabetes. There are also remarkable parallels in the intracellular signaling mechanisms under investigation that control the excitability of POMC neurons, with their consequent release of neurotransmitters, to that of insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells.

Early in his academic career Dr. Low was the recipient of a Pfizer Scholars Award for New Faculty, to study the biochemistry of somatostatin produced in pancreatic islet delta cells, and a NIH Physician-Scientist K11 award.  He has been continually funded by the NIH since and also served as a permanent member of three different NIH study sections, most recently Integrative Physiology of Obesity and Diabetes (IPOD). He has been a member of the editorial board for the journals Endocrinology and Pituitary as well as a frequent ad hoc reviewer for a wide range of bioscience publications.  Most of his former students and post-doctoral fellows have pursued successful biomedical careers in either academic or pharmaceutical environments and now direct their own laboratories here in the United States or in several other countries including Argentina, Australia, France, and Spain.