Sabrina Diano Appointed New Director of Institute of Human Nutrition

Sabrina Diano, PhD, has been appointed the new director of the Institute of Human Nutrition (IHN) and will join the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in the fall. She will succeed Richard Deckelbaum, MD, who has led the Institute since 1992.

Sabrina Diano, PhD

Sabrina Diano

Diano is currently the Richard Sackler Family Professor of Cellular & Molecular Physiology at Yale University School of Medicine and also a full professor in the departments of neuroscience and comparative medicine. She is a founding member of the Yale Program in Integrative Cell Signaling and Neurobiology of Metabolism. Diano joined Yale in 1999 as a postdoctoral associate in obstetrics & gynecology after receiving her PhD from the Department of General and Environmental Physiology at the University of Naples “Federico II” in Italy. 

Her body of research aligns well with the mission of the Institute of Human Nutrition, which is to conduct basic science and translational research on the role of nutrition in human health and provide academic and professional education in human nutrition.

Diano’s work focuses on how the hypothalamus—a part of the brain that is critical in body weight regulation—senses nutrients in circulation and uses that information to make decisions about what and how much to eat. 

“Her research has implications for understanding the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, and is an important complement to the growing epidemiological interest in the role of diet composition and industrial food processing in human obesity,” says Rudy Leibel, MD, co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, the Christopher J. Murphy Memorial Professor of Diabetes Research, and professor of pediatrics and medicine, who chaired the search committee.

Diano also is accomplished in the training of young scientists and the formation of cross-disciplinary collaborations, interests that fit well with the broad research and training interests of the faculty, fellows, and students of the IHN as well as researchers in the Zuckerman Institute and Berrie Diabetes Center.

IHN members hold appointments in more than 18 academic departments within VP&S, Mailman, and graduate school divisions. The Institute offers MS and PhD degrees and also augments the training of physicians and other health care professionals so they can incorporate nutritional considerations when working with patients.

Richard Deckelbaum will remain on the Columbia faculty as the Robert R. Williams Professor of Nutrition (in Pediatrics) at VP&S and professor of epidemiology in the Mailman School of Public Health.