Barbara B. Kahn, MD

George R. Minot Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Vice-Chair for Research Strategy in the Department of Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Dr. Kahn received her MD from Stanford University and an MS in Health Sciences from the University of California at Berkeley. She completed a General Medicine Fellowship at the University of California Davis and an Endocrine Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. She has served as Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, currently serves on the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the NIH, and has been on the Scientific Advisory Board of several large pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Dr. Kahn is widely lauded for her pioneering research elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying Type 2 Diabetes and the cellular and physiologic processes that link obesity with diabetes. Her research unveiled the now well-accepted fact that adipose tissue is an endocrine organ. Dr. Kahn identified novel pathways by which fat cells regulate insulin sensitivity and the risk for Type 2 diabetes. Her discovery that a specific protein secreted by fat cells causes insulin resistance stimulated worldwide clinical studies demonstrating this protein is an early biomarker for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Dr. Kahn’s lab (in collaboration with another lab) also discovered an exciting new class of mammalian lipids with anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects that could lead to new prevention and treatment approaches for Type 2 Diabetes.

For her work, Dr. Kahn has received the American Diabetes Association’s Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award, Mosenthal Award, and the Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement, the Jacobaeus Prize from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Karolinska Institute, the Charles Best Award from University of Toronto, and the Gerald Aurbach Award from the Endocrine Society and (most recently) the 2019 Excellence in Science Award from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians, and she is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. US News and World Report has ranked Dr. Kahn in the top one percent of physicians nationwide in Endocrinology and Metabolism.

The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development

Breakthrough Medicine