Harvey J. Grill, Ph.D. (Courtesy photo)
The Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, John Stetson, UVM’56, MD’60, and Robert B. Stetson, UVM’57, welcomed Harvey J. Grill, Ph.D., as the 2018 presenter of the Annual Stetson Lecture in Technological Advances in Medicine on September 14, 2018 in the UVM Davis Center’s Silver Maple Ballroom. Grill, a professor of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Obesity Unit at the Institute of Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, presented on “Treating the Hyperphagia Driving Obesity: Neural Mechanisms of Feeding Inhibition” to a crowd of nearly 100 attendees.
A leader in the field of obesity and anorexia, Grill’s research focuses on defining the neural circuits, neurochemical systems, and intracellular signaling pathways that contribute to the control of food intake, food reward, and associative control on feeding.
Grill received his Ph.D. from New York University and trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Ralph Norgren, Ph.D., at The Rockefeller University in New York City prior to joining the Penn faculty. His research focuses on the neural control of energy balance and in particular in defining the anatomically distributed neural circuits, neurochemical and hormonal signals and their receptors that control food intake, such as food reward, food seeking, food motivation, and energy expenditure that together control body weight. His seminal work with the chronically maintained decerebrate preparations showed that in isolation from hypothalamic/forebrain contribution, caudal brainstem cells and circuits have the integrative capacity to control taste-guided feeding responses, satiation and meal size control, and thermoregulatory control. His lab revealed the mechanisms involved in important functional contributions to feeding inhibitory control. Grill’s many awards include the 2012 Hoebel Prize for Research Creativity from the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) and the Wadden Distinguished Mentoring Award from the Obesity Society in 2016. He has served the as President of SSIB and the Obesity Society and is currently a member of the Novo Nordisk Global Obesity Advisory Board and a consultant for Janssen, Pfizer, and Novo Nordisk.
The Stetson Lecture is supported by a fund established through a $100,000 estate gift from UVM alumni John W. Stetson ’56 M.D.’60 and Roberta B. Stetson ’57. A Rutland resident and UVM Wilbur Fund scholarship recipient, Stetson had a 39-year career as an orthopaedic surgeon. Two personal experiences highlighted the impact of technological advances in medicine and inspired him and his wife to create the Stetson lectureship at the Larner College of Medicine. The first was his own double-knee replacement in 2015 in Syracuse, N.Y. and the second, which occurred during his post-surgical rehabilitation, was learning about how an innovative and minimally-invasive procedure called TAVR (Trans Aortic Valve Replacement) had completely changed the life of an elderly woman who had formerly struggled to breathe.