Gerald I. Shulman, MD, PhD, FACP, is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute as well as the George R. Cowgill Professor of Physiological Chemistry, Medicine and Cellular & Molecular Physiology at Yale University. He is also Associate Director of the Yale Diabetes-Endocrinology Research Center and Associate Director of the Yale Medical Scientist Training Program. Dr. Shulman completed his undergraduate studies in biophysics at the University of Michigan with high honors and distinction, and he received his M.D., Ph.D. degrees from Wayne State University School of Medicine. Following internship and residency at Duke University Medical Center, he did an endocrinology fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and additional postdoctoral work in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University before joining the faculty at Harvard Medical School. He was subsequently recruited back to Yale and has remained there ever since.
Dr. Shulman has pioneered the application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to directly examine intracellular glucose and lipid metabolism in liver and muscle of normal and diabetic humans for the first time. This approach has afforded a dynamic view of glucose and lipid metabolism in humans not before possible. Using 13C and 31P MRS he has shown that decreased insulin-stimulated muscle glycogen synthesis, due to defects in insulin-stimulated glucose transport, is the major factor responsible for peripheral insulin resistance and that increased hepatic gluconeogenesis is responsible for fasting hyperglycemia in patients with T2D. His group went on to demonstrate that these defects could be attributed to ectopic lipid accumulation in liver and skeletal muscle and showed that this mechanism of ectopic lipid deposition in liver and skeletal muscle could explain insulin resistance in both obesity and lipodystrophy. His group went on to explore the mechanism by which ectopic lipids cause insulin resistance and in a seminal series of studies using novel tandem mass spectrometry methods to assess intracellular lipid metabolism his group identified diacylglycerol as the trigger for lipid-induced insulin resistance, which in turn activated PKC in liver and PKC in skeletal muscle leading to inhibition of insulin signaling at the level of IRS-1/IRS-2 tyrosine phosphorylation. Using ultrasensitive tandem mass spec methods combined with liver biopsies he has now translated these observations to patients with NAFLD thus providing the molecular mechanism for lipid-induced hepatic insulin resistance in humans.
Dr. Shulman has authored and coauthored over 340 peer-reviewed publications and he has served on the editorial boards of the JCI, JBC, Cell Metabolism, Diabetes, Diabetologia, PLoS Medicine, and EMBO Molecular Medicine. He has also trained more than 60 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, many of whom now direct their own independent laboratories around the world.
Dr. Shulman is married to Kitt Falk Petersen, M.D., who is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Yale and together they share the joy of working together, cooking together, exploring the world together and weekends hiking along the Connecticut shoreline.