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Two named to National Academies’ advisory board

Sep. 12, 2013, 9:26 AM

Vanderbilt University’s Roger D. Cone, Ph.D., and Elizabeth Heitman, Ph.D., have been appointed to the National Academies’ Board on Life Sciences, which advises the government and scientific community on a wide range of topics, from stem cell research to bioterrorism.

Roger D. Cone, Ph.D.

Cone, Joe C. Davis Professor of Biomedical Science, chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Obesity and Metabolism, has made major contributions to understanding how the brain controls body weight.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, part of the National Academies, he currently is collaborating with GlaxoSmithKline to develop novel therapies for severe obesity that target the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4-R), which he and his colleagues discovered and which is involved in the regulation of body weight.

“I look forward to working on the (board) over the next three years as they investigate topics as diverse as President Obama’s BRAIN initiative, threats to the pre-eminence of the life sciences workforce in the U.S., and genetically modified organisms,” Cone said.

Elizabeth Heitman, Ph.D.

Heitman, associate professor of Medicine and Anesthesiology, is a faculty member in the Vanderbilt Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society and the Department of Religious Studies. She is an internationally known expert on biomedical research ethics and scientific integrity.

Recently she participated in efforts overseen by the Board on Life Sciences to design a faculty development program for teaching responsible science in the Middle East and North Africa, and she currently chairs a committee advising the Algerian Ministry of Higher Education on a national bioethics curriculum.

For more information about the Board of Life Sciences, visit

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