About the Director

Roger D. Cone, Ph.D.

Roger D. Cone, Ph.D., is the Mary Sue Coleman Director of the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute.

He is also vice provost and director of the U-M biosciences initiative, the Asa Gray Collegiate Professor of the Life Sciences, and a professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the U-M Medical School and in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. 

Cone, a distinguished obesity researcher, joined U-M in 2016 from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he served as chairman of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and the Joe C. Davis Chair in Biomedical Science. He also was director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity and Metabolism and associate director for Vanderbilt’s Diabetes Research and Training Center. Prior to joining Vanderbilt in 2008, Cone served as director of the Center for the Study of Weight Regulation and Associated Disorders at Oregon Health and Science University and as a senior scientist at OHSU’s Vollum Institute. 

He is known for his discovery of some of the key receptors and neural circuits in the brain that regulate energy stores, and his laboratory continues to study the role of these receptors and circuits in obesity, wasting disease (cachexia) and anorexia. His lab’s recent projects include development of small molecule compounds for the treatment of obesity, identification of novel cell signaling pathways in the brain involved in the regulation of body weight, and identification of genes predisposing humans to anorexia nervosa. 

Cone has been recognized for several awards and distinctions including election to the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Medicine, and named as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

He holds several patents and has published more than 160 scholarly articles. Cone has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the board of the Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation, and currently serves on the editorial board of the journal Cell Metabolism, and the National Academy’s Board on Life Sciences. 

Cone has received both local and international awards for his work, including the Ernst Oppenheimer Award from the U.S. Endocrine Society, the Berthold Memorial Award from the German Endocrine Society, the Freedom to Discover Award for Distinguished Achievement in Metabolic Diseases Research from Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Ipsen Prize, the Berson Award from the American Physiological Society, and the Donald Steiner Award from the University of Chicago. 

Cone earned a B.A. in biochemistry summa cum laude from Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology under the mentorship of the gene therapy pioneer Richard C. Mulligan.

Past Directors

  • Stephen J. Weiss, interim (2015-2016)
  • Alan R. Saltiel (2002-2015)
  • Jack Dixon (2002)

Directors' columns from the LSI newsletter