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School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Medical Center
School of Medicine profiles

May 21, 2014

Francesco S. Celi, M.D., M.H.Sc.

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Professor of Internal Medicine
Chair, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Trained in geriatrics and internal medicine, Celi embarked on a project early in his career to study the effects of thyroid hormone on the body’s metabolism — a topic that remains the core of his research. It’s driven both by clinical questions such as why thyroid disease can look completely different between two patients as well as by basic research on identifying the molecular modulators of thyroid hormone.

Celi’s most recent post was at National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. While there, he conducted a study on the metabolic effects of shivering that attracted quite a bit of press. The body’s response to cold exposure includes release of a hormone called irisin that drives the expansion of heat-generating brown adipose tissue and is similar to what happens during exercise. The East Coast — facing a polar vortex — celebrated the idea they were also losing weight.

Celi sees VCU as a very welcoming place to do research at the bench and the bedside. “It’s remarkable how close the integration of research and teaching and delivery of care are here,” he says. As division chair, he looks forward to implementing a comprehensive approach to diabetes care, integrating inpatient and outpatient services and boosting early intervention strategies.