Prof Lesley Campbell

Lab Head - Clinical Diabetes, Appetite and Metabolism

Principal Research Fellow

Conjoint/Adjunct Role(s)

Director - Diabetes Services, St Vincent’s Hospital
Professor of Medicine, St Vincent's Clinical School, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Australia

Still being a Clinician, my focus has always been on the patient, so I study disease in humans and how to relieve or prevent it.  Initially I worked at Garvan Institute on the artificial pancreas with Ted Kraegen and described for the first time the failure of glucose counter-regulation in type 1 diabetes postulating the mechanism. I also describe the first clinical use of low dose insulin infusions for diabetic ketoacidosis (which were pioneered from Garvan).

I have since studied the relatives of people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and published a series of subtle abnormalities in such healthy relatives suggestive of underlying genetic defects which may point to possible preventative strategies. My UK healthy twin studies showed strong heritablity and gene/environment interactions of total and central adiposity and support my continuing phenotyping of the clinical presentations of diabetes, revealing so far a new lipodystrophy and other syndromes.

I have also examined young people with a disease called Prader Willi Syndrome(PWS), a genetic disorder with insatiable appetite and suggested a treatment based on a short study  (which is now  in randomised trial in USA) as  well as characterising the PWS cardiovascular risk. Having published regarding diabetes distress, depression and a genetic predisposition to avoidance coping mechanisms I continue working with our Psychiatry Department to now try novel treatments to prevent depression and alcohol abuse and study further the interactions of genetic predisposition and environment.

I am also involved in studies with UNSW examining metabolic influences on early cognitive change in a Healthy Aging Cohort.

Research Interests

The underlying genetic defects predisposing to T2DM
The physiological mechanisms underlying T2DM
The relief of insatiable appetite in Prader Willi Syndrome

Awards and Honours

2014 - Sir Kempson Maddox Award from Diabetes Australia – NSW
2013 - Honorary Life Membership of Australian Diabetes Society
2008 - Order of Australia (AM)
2001 - Medal Swedish Society of Medicine
2000 - Visiting Fellowship Harvard School of Population Health
1989 - Fellowship Royal British College of Physicians


1989 - FRCP(UK), Royal College of Physicians - UK
1977 - FRACP, Royal Australian College of Physicians - Australia
1973 - MRACP, Royal Australian College of Physicians - Australia
1973 - MRCP(UK), Royal College of Physicians - UK
1968 - MB, BS, Sydney University - Australia

Selected Publications

Jenkins A, Batterham M, Samocha-Bonet D, Tonks K, Greenfield JR, Campbell LV.  Segregation of a latent high adiposity phenotype in families with a history of type 2 diabetes mellitus implicates rare obesity-susceptibility genetic variants with large effects in diabetes-related obesity. PLOS One 2013; 8(8):e70435.

Philip Peake, Stephen Colagiuri, Lesley V. Campbell and Yvonne Shen. Paradoxically low levels of total and HMW adiponectin in relation to metabolic parameters in a Tongan population. ISRN Endocrinology 2013; 2013:873507.

Gregersen S, Samocha-Bonet D, Heilbronn L, Campbell LV.  Inflammatory and oxidative stress responses to high carbohydrate and high fat meals in healthy humans.  J Nutr Metab. 2012; 2012:238056.

Wilhelm K, Gillis I, Reddy J, Mitchell PB, Campbell L, Dobson-Stone C, Pierce KD, Schofield PR. Association between serotonin transporter promoter polymorphisms and psychological distress in a diabetic population.  Psychiatry Res.  2012; 200:343-8.

Lee P, Greenfield JR, Gilbert K, Campbell LV. Recreational drug use in type 1 diabetes: an invisible accomplice to poor glycaemic control?  Intern Med J. 2012; 42:198-202.

Sze L, Purtell L, Jenkins A, Loughnan G, Smith E, Herzog H, Sainsbury A, Steinbeck K, Campbell LV, Viardot A. Effects of a Single Dose of Exenatide on Appetite, Gut Hormones, and Glucose Homeostasis in Adults with Prader-Willi Syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011; 96:E1314-9

Smith, E., Hay, P., Campbell, L. and Trollor, J. N. A review of the association between obesity and cognitive function across the lifespan: implications for novel approaches to prevention and treatment. Obesity Reviews 2011; 12: 740-755.

Trollor JN, Smith E, Agars E, Crawford J, Baune B, Kwan S, Sachdev P, Samaras K, Campbell LV, Lux O, Brodaty H. Systemic inflammation is associated with Mild Cognitive Impairment and its subtypes: the Sydney Memory and Aging Study.  Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2010; 30:569-78.

Jenkins AB, Campbell LV. Insulin secretion and impaired glucose tolerance. Diabetologia. 2010; 53:266-8.

Scott DP, Greenfield JR, Bramah V, Alford J, Bennett C, Markus R, Campbell LV.  Challenges in secondary stroke prevention: prevalence of multiple metabolic risk factors, including abnormal glycaemia, in ischaemic stroke and transient ischaemic attackIntern Med J. 2010; 40:275-80.

Vitamin D deficiency: the invisible accomplice of metabolic endotoxaemia? Lee P, Campbell LV.  Curr Pharm Des. 2009; 15:2751-8. Review.

RA Bradbury, D Shirkhedkar, AR Glanville, LV Campbell. Prior diabetes mellitus is associated with increased morbidity in cystic fibrosis patients undergoing bilateral lung transplantation: an 'orphan' area? A retrospective case-control study.  Intern Med J. 2009; 39:384-8.

Viardot A, Heilbronn LK, Herzog H, Gregersen S, Campbell LV. Abnormal postprandial PYY response in insulin sensitive nondiabetic subjects with a strong family history of type 2 diabetes.  Int J Obes 2008; 1-6.

Heilbronn LK, Campbell LV. Adipose Tissue Macrophages, Low Grade Inflammation and Insulin Resistance in Human Obesity. Current Pharmaceutical Design.  2008; 14:1225-1230.

Heilbronn LK, Gregersen S, Shirkhedkar D, Hu D, Campbell LV.  Impaired fat oxidation after a single high fat meal in insulin sensitive non-diabetic individuals with a family history of type 2 diabetes.  Diabetes. 2007; 56:2046-53.

Prof Lesley Campbell