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UT Southwestern’s Hobbs to discuss genetics of fatty liver disease

Jan. 7, 2019, 11:18 AM


by Leigh MacMillan

Helen Hobbs, MD, internationally renowned for her work defining the genetic determinants of plasma lipid levels and cardiovascular risk, will kick off the 2019 Flexner Discovery Lecture series Thursday, Jan. 10.

Helen Hobbs, MD

Her lecture, “Fatty Liver Disease: Ancient Mutations for a Common Disease,” will begin at 4 p.m. in 208 Light Hall.

Hobbs is a professor of Internal Medicine and Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where she holds the Dallas Heart Ball Chair in Cardiology Research and the Eugene McDermott Distinguished Chair for the Study of Human Growth and Development. She is an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Hobbs established the population-based Dallas Heart Study, and with collaborator Jonathan Cohen, PhD, she has discovered genetic variants that contribute to complex traits and diseases. Their discovery of gene mutations associated with low levels of LDL-cholesterol led directly to the development of therapeutics for high blood cholesterol and prevention of coronary atherosclerosis.

Hobbs and Cohen have now identified genes that contribute to the development of fatty liver disease, a growing health problem that affects one-third of adults in the United States. Hobbs will discuss how the genetic variants contribute to the pathogenesis of liver disease and the implications for disease prevention and treatment.

Hobbs is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. She was awarded the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2016, the Passano Award in 2017 and the Harrington Prize for Innovation and Medicine in 2018.

Hobbs’ lecture is sponsored by the Medical Scientist Training Program. For a complete schedule of the Flexner Discovery Lecture series and archived video of previous lectures, go to

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