Lori Zeltser, PhD

Departments And Divisions

  • Department of Pathology & Cell Biology
  • Associate Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology

Research Theme

Patterns of increased adiposity and food intake in overweight children persist to adulthood, consistent with the idea that some metabolic set-points are established at a young age.  The Zeltser lab is focused on characterizing two types of developmental processes that could, in principle, impart persistent influences on metabolic phenotypes: (1) maternal influences on the differentiation of key neuronal populations in the embryonic and neonatal hypothalamus, and (2) the establishment of defended set-points for phenotypes related to body weight and adiposity during the peri-pubertal period.  Our research, a synthesis of molecular biology, developmental neuroscience, mouse genetic models, and metabolism, reflects a novel approach to studying the molecular physiology of childhood obesity.  Recently, we have extended this type of approach to develop a novel mouse model of Anorexia Nervosa. By analyzing metabolic and physiological outcomes in conjunction with neuroendocrine and neuronal phenotypes, we hope to elucidate how the maternal, psychosocial and nutritional factors influence susceptibility to obesity/Eating Disorders. In the long term, we hope that our research leads to the development of more efficacious strategies to combat these disorders.

    Education & Training

  • PhD, Molecular and Developmental Biology, The Rockefeller University

Lab Locations

  • Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion

    1150 St. Nicholas Avenue
    New York, NY 10032
    (212) 851-5314
    (212) 851-5306

Contact Info


Society Memberships:

Society for Neuroscience

American Diabetes Association

The Obesity Society- member

Endocrine Society- member

Editing Committess:

Journal of Neuroscience- Associate Editor

Molecular Metabolism- Topic Editor

Diabetes – Consulting Editor 

Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology – Review Editor

JCI Insight – Consulting Editor 

Honors & Awards

1989: Magna cum laude in Molecular Biology, Princeton University
1989: Arnold and Mabel Beckman Fellowship, The Rockefeller University
1996: Hitchings-Elion Fellowship, Burroughs Wellcome Fund
2005: Naomi Berrie Young Investigator Award, CUMC
2005: William J. Matheson Foundation Young Investigator Award, CUMC
2013: Gladys J. Fashena Lecture, UT Southwestern Department of Pediatrics
2015: Harold and Golden Lamport Award for Excellence in Clinical Science Research, CUMC

Research Interests

  • Cellular/Molecular/Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cell Specification and Differentiation
  • Maternal Programming of Metabolic Disease
  • Models of Psychiatric Disorders (Anorexia)
  • Circuits Regulating Food Intake and Body Weight

Lab Members

  • Angie (Chi Nok) Chong, Graduate Student
  • Moneek Madra, Graduate Student
  • Jaclyn Lerea, Graduate Student
  • Alain Juan de Solis, Postdoctoral Research Scientist
  • Rim Hassouna, Postdoctoral Research Scientist


Padilla, S.L., Carmody, J.S. and Zeltser, L.M. (2010) Pomc-expressing progenitors give rise to antagonistic neuronal populations in hypothalamic feeding circuits.  Nature Medicine 16(4):403-5.

Ring, L.E. and Zeltser, L.M.  (2010) Disruption of hypothalamic leptin signaling in mice leads to early-onset obesity, but physiological adaptations in mature animals stabilize adiposity levels.  JCI, 120(8):2931-41.

Carmody, J.S., Wan, P., Accili, D., Zeltser, L.M., and Leibel, R.L. (2011)  Respective contributions of maternal insulin resistance and diet to metabolic and hypothalamic phenotypes of progeny. Obesity  19(3):492-9. 

Padilla, S.L., Reef, D. and Zeltser, L.M. (2012) Defining POMC neurons utilizing transgenic reagents: Impact of transient Pomc expression in diverse immature neuronal populations. Endocrinology 153(3):1219-31. 

Zeltser, L.M., Seeley, R.J, and Tschöp, M.H.  (2012) Synaptic Plasticity in Neuronal Circuits Regulating Energy Balance. Nature Neuroscience. 15(10):1336-42.

Schwartz, G.J. and Zeltser, L.M. (2013) Functional Organization of Neuronal and Humoral Signals Regulating Feeding Behavior.  Annual Reviews of Nutrition 33:1-21.

For a complete list of publications, please visit PubMed.gov