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  4. Paolo Piaggi, Ph.D.

Paolo Piaggi, Ph.D.

Photo of Paolo Piaggi
Scientific Focus Areas: Biomedical Engineering and Biophysics, Clinical Research, Computational Biology, Epidemiology, Genetics and Genomics

Professional Experience

  • Visiting Fellow, NIDDK, 2012-2016
  • Special Volunteer, NIDDK, 2011-2012
  • Ph.D. in Automation, Robotics and Bioengineering, University of Pisa, 2012
  • M.S. in Biomedical Engineering, University of Pisa, 2008
  • B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, University of Pisa, 2006

Research Goal

The ultimate goal of our group is to understand the physiology of weight gain and weight loss, find new ways to prevent weight gain, help overweight people lose weight more easily, and prevent the consequences of excess adiposity.

Current Research

Our group is interested in understanding the determinants of the energy balance equation (energy intake and expenditure) and the role these play in contributing to weight change. I am the principal investigator on one ongoing study investigating whether adaptive thermogenesis during overfeeding or caloric restriction explain variation in weight gain or weight loss, and whether spend-thrift versus thrifty phenotypes can be identified by measuring energy expenditure during fasting and overfeeding inside a whole-room indirect calorimeter. I am also interested in the genetic determinants of energy intake and expenditure that may predispose individuals to obesity.

Select Publications

Energy expenditure in the etiology of human obesity: spendthrift and thrifty metabolic phenotypes and energy-sensing mechanisms.
Piaggi P, Vinales KL, Basolo A, Santini F, Krakoff J.
J Endocrinol Invest (2018 Jan) 41:83-89. Abstract/Full Text
Assessing variation across 8 established East Asian loci for type 2 diabetes mellitus in American Indians: Suggestive evidence for new sex-specific diabetes signals in GLIS3 and ZFAND3.
Muller YL, Piaggi P, Chen P, Wiessner G, Okani C, Kobes S, Knowler WC, Bogardus C, Hanson RL, Baier LJ.
Diabetes Metab Res Rev (2017 May) 33. Abstract/Full Text
View More Publications

Research in Plain Language

Our group studies the part of a person’s body that controls how many calories their body uses during the day compared to how many calories that person eats. We are trying to understand why some people may be able to remain thin even after days of overeating while other people may gain weight more easily. We are also trying to understand if a person is more likely to gain weight if he or she eats carbohydrates, protein, or fat when he or she overeats. We also study how genes influence people's metabolism and predispose them to weight gain.