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Dr Michael Swarbrick completed his PhD at the University of Western Australia, performing studies in large human cohorts to identify candidate genes for obesity and the metabolic syndrome. This was followed by postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco, where he led a large, mul

Biography

Dr Michael Swarbrick completed his PhD at the University of Western Australia, performing studies in large human cohorts to identify candidate genes for obesity and the metabolic syndrome. This was followed by postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco, where he led a large, multi-institutional genetic association study of the GAD2 gene in severe obesity, involving >4200 subjects. More recently, Michael identified several polymorphisms in the obesity candidate gene SIM1, which impaired its function and were associated with obesity.

Michael has also performed studies of obese and insulin resistant rodents and nonhuman primates, and he has conducted cross-sectional and interventional studies in humans. As a postdoctoral scholar in Prof. Peter Havel’s laboratory at the University of California, Davis, he performed a comprehensive investigation of the changes in adipocyte and pancreatic hormones following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, focusing on the adipose tissue-derived hormone adiponectin. In 2009, Michael completed a pre-clinical trial of a novel antisense oligonucleotide therapy for obesity and insulin resistance, which increased circulating adiponectin concentrations in monkeys.

In 2008, Michael joined the Diabetes and Obesity Program at the Garvan Institute, as a co-investigator on an NHMRC Program Grant. He developed a mass spectrometry-based assay to measure tissue malonyl-CoA content (published in Cell Metabolism), and performed experiments to investigate the salutary effects of intra-abdominal transplantation of subcutaneous adipose tissue in mice. He was awarded an NHMRC Project Grant started in 2012 to study the underlying mechanisms. Michael also contributed to two publications with Professor Ken Ho’s group reporting the prevalence of brown adipose tissue in humans, and the isolation and differentiation of human brown pre-adipocytes. He is currently collaborating with the SIEF Consortium (Susan Clark and CSIRO) to study epigenetic changes in isolated adipocytes and adipose tissue from obese and lean humans. Michael is a current member of the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) and the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS).

Michael's research interests are in the aetiology of obesity and its relationship to insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. Specifically, his research pertains to adipose (fat) tissue and how its normal properties (such as hormone secretion and adaptive thermogenesis) may be exploited to stimulate weight loss and improve metabolic profile. Since 2001, has authored 22 research articles on obesity-related topics. 

Dr Michael Swarbrick completed his PhD at the University of Western Australia, performing studies in large human cohorts to identify candidate genes for obesity and the metabolic syndrome. This was followed by postdoctoral work at the University of California San Francisco, where he led a large, multi-institutional genetic association study of the GAD2 gene in severe obesity, involving >4200 subjects. More recently, Michael identified several polymorphisms in the obesity candidate gene SIM1, which impaired its function and were associated with obesity.

Michael has also performed studies of obese and insulin resistant rodents and nonhuman primates, and he has conducted cross-sectional and interventional studies in humans. As a postdoctoral scholar in Prof. Peter Havel’s laboratory at the University of California, Davis, he performed a comprehensive investigation of the changes in adipocyte and pancreatic hormones following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery, focusing on the adipose tissue-derived hormone adiponectin. In 2009, Michael completed a pre-clinical trial of a novel antisense oligonucleotide therapy for obesity and insulin resistance, which increased circulating adiponectin concentrations in monkeys.

In 2008, Michael joined the Diabetes and Obesity Program at the Garvan Institute, as a co-investigator on an NHMRC Program Grant. He developed a mass spectrometry-based assay to measure tissue malonyl-CoA content (published in Cell Metabolism), and performed experiments to investigate the salutary effects of intra-abdominal transplantation of subcutaneous adipose tissue in mice. He was awarded an NHMRC Project Grant started in 2012 to study the underlying mechanisms. Michael also contributed to two publications with Professor Ken Ho’s group reporting the prevalence of brown adipose tissue in humans, and the isolation and differentiation of human brown pre-adipocytes. He is currently collaborating with the SIEF Consortium (Susan Clark and CSIRO) to study epigenetic changes in isolated adipocytes and adipose tissue from obese and lean humans. Michael is a current member of the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) and the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS).

Michael's research interests are in the aetiology of obesity and its relationship to insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. Specifically, his research pertains to adipose (fat) tissue and how its normal properties (such as hormone secretion and adaptive thermogenesis) may be exploited to stimulate weight loss and improve metabolic profile. Since 2001, has authored 22 research articles on obesity-related topics. 

Awards and Honours

10/2010 - “Best Basic Science Paper”, Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society Annual Scientific Meeting, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
10/2006 - UC Davis Laboratory Management Institute Program for Postdoctoral Scholars
10/2006 - New Investigator Research Award, The Obesity Society (awarded to 4/80 applicants)
9/2001 - “Best Poster Presentation” and Travel Grant, Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.
2/2001 - Travel Grant, Keystone Symposium: “Obesity and the Regulation of Energy Homeostasis”, Taos, NM, USA

Education

1999-2002 - Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Pathology, University of Western Australia
1993-1998 - Bachelor of Science (Hons), Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Queensland - Australia

Selected Publications

Lee P, Swarbrick MM, Ho KKY. “Brown adipose tissue in humans - a metabolic renaissance”. Endocrine Reviews 2013; 34: 413-438.

Lee P, Swarbrick MM, Zhao JT, Ho KKY. Inducible brown adipogenesis in adult humans: culture of adipose precursor cells from human supraclavicular brown adipose tissue. Endocrinology 2011; 152: 3597-3602.

Lee P, Zhao JT, Swarbrick MM, Gracie G, Bova R, Greenfield JR, Freund J, Ho KKY. High prevalence of brown adipose tissue in adult humans. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 2011; 96: 2450-2455.

Swarbrick MM, Evans DS, Ascencio MIV, Favre H, Wu S-H, Njajou OT, Li R, Zmuda JM, Milijkovic I, Harris TB, Kwok P-Y, Vaisse C, Hsueh W-C. Systematic examination of the SIM1 gene region: replication and extension of association between common genetic variants and adiposity. Obesity 2011; 9(12):2394-403.

Swarbrick MM. Putting out fat’s fire with the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway [News and Views article]. Endocrinology 2011; 152(3): 748-750.

Asztalos BF, Swarbrick MM, Schaefer EJ, Dallal GE, Horvath KV, Ai M, Stanhope KL, Ali M, Wolfe BM, Havel PJ. Effects of weight loss, induced by gastric bypass surgery, on HDL remodeling in obese women. Journal of Lipid Research 2010; 51(8): 2405-2412.

Hoehn K, Turner N, Swarbrick MM, Wilks D, Preston E, Phua YW, Larance M, Hegarty BD, Pickford R, Hoy AJ, Kraegen EW, James DE, Cooney GJ. Acute or chronic upregulation of mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation has no net effect on whole-body energy expenditure or adiposity. Cell Metabolism 2010; 11(1): 70-76.

Swarbrick MM, Havel PJ, Levin AA, Bremer AA, Stanhope KL, Butler M, Booten SL, Graham JL, McKay RA, Murray SF, Watts LM, Monia BP, Bhanot S. Inhibition of protein tyrosine phosphatase-1B (PTP-1B) with antisense oligonucleotides improves insulin sensitivity and increases adiponectin concentration in monkeys. Endocrinology 2009; 150(4): 1670-9.

Swarbrick MM, Stanhope KL, Austrheim-Smith IT, Van Loan MD, Ali MR, Wolfe BM, Havel PJ. Longitudinal changes of pancreatic and adipocyte hormones following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. Diabetologia 2008: 51(10): 1901-1911.

Swarbrick MM, Havel PJ. Physiological, pharmacological, and nutritional regulation of circulating adiponectin concentrations in humans [Review]. Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders 2008; 6(2): 87-102.

Stanhope KL, Griffen SC, Bair B, Swarbrick MM, Keim NL, Havel PJ. Twenty-four-hour endocrine and metabolic profiles following consumption of high-fructose corn syrup-, sucrose-, fructose-, and glucose-sweetened beverages with meals. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008; 87(5): 1194-1203.

Swarbrick MM, Stanhope KL, Elliott SS, Graham JL, Krauss RM, Christiansen MP, Griffen SC, Keim NL, Havel PJ. Consumption of fructose- but not glucose-sweetened beverages for 10 weeks increases postprandial triglyceride and apolipoprotein-B concentrations in overweight and obese women. British Journal of Nutrition 2008; 100: 947-952.

Kratz M, Swarbrick MM, Callahan HS, Matthys CC, Havel PJ, and Weigle DS. Effect of dietary n-3-polyunsaturated fatty acids on plasma total and high molecular weight adiponectin concentrations in overweight to moderately obese men and women. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008; 87(2): 347-353.