More than two million Canadians have diabetes, a chronic metabolic disorder caused by the inability of the body to produce or properly use insulin. Obesity is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. Dr. Timothy Kieffer has uncovered links between leptin – a hormone that affects how the body manages and stores fat – and insulin producing beta cells of the pancreas, plus the liver, one of insulin’s target tissues. His research suggests there may be a defect in the interaction between leptin, fat, beta cells and liver cells. Using genetic engineering approaches, Dr. Kieffer is investigating the role of leptin in the development of diabetes and obesity, in the hopes of eventually developing novel therapeutic strategies to combat these debilitating diseases.