Roger Cone, Ph.D.

portrait of Roger Cone, Ph.D.
Mary Sue Coleman Director & Research Professor, U-M Life Sciences Institute
Vice Provost and Director, U-M Biosciences Initiative
Professor, Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, U-M Medical School
Professor, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, LSA


Before joining the University of Michigan, Roger Cone served as a professor and chairman in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and also the Joe C. Davis Chair in Biomedical Science at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. He was also the director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity and Metabolism and an associate director for Vanderbilt's Diabetes Research and Training Center.

Prior to joining Vanderbilt in 2008, Cone served as the director of the Center for the Study of Weight Regulation and Associated Disorders at Oregon Health and Science University (2003-2008) and a senior scientist at the Vollum Institute.

Cone and his laboratory associates work on the central control of energy homeostasis. Their primary interest is understanding how the central nervous system regulates energy storage, and the role of these neural circuits in obesity, disease cachexia, and anorexia nervosa. 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 a number of awards and distinctions including election to the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Medicine, and named as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Cone has received both local and international awards for his work, including the Ernst Oppenheimer Award (U.S. Endocrine Society), the Berthold Memorial Award (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 holds several U.S. patents and has published over 160 scholarly articles. He has served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), 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 earned his B.A. in biochemistry, summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1980. He received his Ph.D. in biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985 under the mentorship of the gene therapy pioneer, Richard Mulligan.

Research Areas

  • central nervous system control of energy homeostasis
  • role of neural circuits in obesity, disease cachexia, and anorexia nervosa
  • melanocortin signaling
  • development of small molecule compounds for the treatment of obesity
  • B.A., Biochemistry (summa cum laude), Princeton University (1980)
  • Ph.D., Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1985) 
  • Elected, Member of the National Academy of Sciences (2010)
  • Elected, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012)
  • Elected, Member of the National Academy of Medicine (2016)
  • Elected, Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2018)
  • Rolf Luft Award, Karolinska Institutet (2022)
  • Asa Gray Collegiate Professor in the Life Sciences, U-M