Warm Welcome to Andrea HaqqFriday, September 11, 2009
As a pediatric endocrinologist, Andrea has a strong interest in childhood obesity. She has worked extensively on the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4-R), a brain receptor that plays a key role in energy homeostasis. Disruption of the MC4-R in humans leads to an obesity syndrome characterized by hyperphagia, late-onset obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and increased linear growth. MC4-R mutations are known to be responsible for as many as 5% of severe childhood obesity cases.
Andrea’s clinical translational research to date has centered on ghrelin, a gastrointestinal hormone that drives hunger. She and her colleagues have shown that children with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), a genetic obesity syndrome, exhibit 4 to 5 times increased fasting circulating ghrelin levels when compared with healthy children matched for body mass index. This finding has led to the hypothesis that the often insatiable hunger seen in children with PWS is perhaps largely drive by ghrelin.
Andrea was a faculty member at Duke University Medical Center prior to her arrival at the University of Alberta. During her time at Duke University, Dr. Haqq published 19 original articles, (with an additional five articles either submitted or currently in preparation), four book chapters (one additional book chapter in preparation), and 24 research abstracts. She also received numerous awards.
Andrea has assumed leadership roles in the general pediatric endocrine community. She has been appointed to serve on the international Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society (LWPES) Drug and Therapeutics Committee. Through her involvement in this committee, she has contributed to the development of several state of the art reviews and practice guidelines for pediatric endocrinologists in the management of challenging clinical scenarios, including the use of lipid-lowering medications (statins) in children with diabetes and the management of Hyperglycemic Hyperosmolar State (HHS) in children. She is also current serving as chair of a subcommittee charged with looking at the implications of using bariatric surgery as a treatment for adolescent obesity.
At the University of Alberta, Andrea plans to continue her work on children with Prader-Willi Syndrome and other form of severe childhood obesity.
Andrea tells me that she is very excited to be back in her homeland of Canada where she hopes to develop a number of collaborations on a wide variety of childhood obesity topics.
I, in turn, am most excited to have have Andrea join our team of obesity researchers and clinicians here at the University of Alberta.