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Kirk M. Habegger, PhD

Kirk M. Habegger, PhD Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine - Endocrinology, Diabetes & and Metabolism
BDB 783
1720 2nd Ave South
Birmingham, AL 35294-0012
Office: (205) 934-9835
Full CV



  • 2005-2009
    Indiana University, Indianapolis, Indiana
    Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • 1998-2002
    Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana
    B.S. Biochemistry, minor in Biology

Research Description:

Throughout my training I have acquired a diverse background in energy metabolism research, endocrinology, biochemistry, and integrative physiology. This background has provided me with unique training and expertise in key research areas. In my graduate work I specialized in the areas of plasma membrane dynamics and glucose transport, providing a solid foundation in key areas of cell biology. During my postdoctoral training I acquired significant expertise in neuroendocrinology, along with a broad background in obesity and diabetes research. Many of these projects included studies of novel pharmacological therapies against diabetes and obesity in mice, providing me with a rich background in the translational aspects of neuroendocrinology. We have recently reported that the novel hormone FGF21 is responsible for many of the non-canonical actions of glucagon; including its role energy balance and body weight regulation. My work aims to discover and dissect neuroendocrine and peripheral signaling pathways that regulate energy, glucose and lipid metabolism. Current projects in my group focus on 1) the non-cannonical aspects of glucagon biology and 2) CNS integration of duodenal nutrient sensing.


  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • Pre 2011
  1. Habegger KM, Heppner KM, Amburgy SE, Ottaway N, Holland J, Raver C, Bartley E, Müller TD, Pfluger PT, Berger J, Toure M, Benoit SC, Dimarchi RD, Perez-Tilve D, D'Alessio DA, Seeley RJ, Tschöp MH. GLP-1R responsiveness predicts individual gastric bypass efficacy on glucose tolerance in rats. Diabetes 2013 Nov 1. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24186863
  2. Finan B, Ma T, Ottaway N, Müller TD, Habegger KM, Heppner KM, Kirchner H, Holland J, Hembree J, Raver C, Lockie SH, Smiley DL, Gelfanov V, Yang B, Hofmann S, Bruemmer D, Drucker DJ, Pfluger PT, Perez-Tilve D, Gidda J, Vignati L, Zhang L, Hauptman JB, Lau M, Brecheisen M, Uhles S, Riboulet W, Hainaut E, Sebokova E, Conde-Knape K, Konkar A, Dimarchi RD, Tschöp MH. Unimolecular dual incretins maximize metabolic benefits in rodents, monkeys, and humans. Sci Transl Med. 2013 Oct 30;5(209):209ra151. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3007218. PMID: 24174327
  3. Habegger KM, Al Massadi O, Heppner KM, Guo Y, Lehti M, Berger J, Holland J, Ottaway N, Amburgy S, Raver C, Perez-Tilve D, Pfluger PT, Seeley RJ, & Tschoep MH. Duodenal endoluminal barrier stimulates Glucagon-like Peptide 1 secretion, improves body weight and enhances glucose homeostasis. Gut 2013 Oct 9. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2013-304583. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24107591
  4. Lehti M, Donelan E, Abplanalp W, Al-Massadi O, Habegger K, Weber J, Ress C, Mansfeld J, Somvanshi S, Trivedi C, Keuper M, Ograjsek T, Striese C, Cucuruz S, Pfluger PT, Krishna R, Gordon SM, Silva RA, Luquet S, Castel J, Martinez S, D'Alessio D, Davidson WS, Hofmann SM. High-density lipoprotein maintains skeletal muscle function by modulating cellular respiration in mice. Circulation 2013 Oct 29. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24170386
  5. Heppner KM, Piechowski CL, Müller A, Ottaway N, Sisley S, Smiley DL, Habegger KM, Pfluger PT, DiMarchi D, Biebermann H, Tschöp MH, Sandoval DA, Perez-Tilve D. Both acyl and des-acyl ghrelin regulate adiposity and glucose metabolism via CNS ghrelin receptors. Diabetes 2013 Sep 23. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24062249.
  6. Habegger KM, Kirchner H, Yi CX, Heppner KM, Sweeney D, Ottaway N, Holland J, Amburgy S, Raver C, Krishna R, Müller TD, Perez-Tilve D, Pfluger PT, Obici S, DiMarchi RD, D’Alessio DA, Seeley RJ, & Tschöp MH. Glucagon-like peptide-1 Receptor agonism improves Adjustable Gastric Banding in rats. Diabetes. 2013 Sep;62(9):3261-7. doi: 10.2337/db13-0117. Epub 2013 Jun 17. PMID: 23775764
  7. Müller TD, Müller A, Yi C-X, Habegger KM, Meyer CW, Gaylinn BD, Finan B, Heppner KM, Trived C, Bielohuby M, Abplanalp W, Meyer F, Piechowski CL Pratzka J, Stemmer K, Holland J, Hembree J, Bhardwaj N, Raver C, Ottaway N, Krishna R, Sah R, Sallee FR, Woods SC, Perez-Tilve D, Bidlingmaier M, Thorner MO, Krude H, Smiley D, DiMarchi RD, Hofmann S, Pfluger PT, Kleinau G, Bienermann H, & Tschöp MH. The orphan receptor GPR83 regulates systemic energy metabolism via ghrelin-dependent and–independent mechanisms. Nat Commun. 2013 Jun 7;4:1968. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2968. PMID: 23744028.
  8. Habegger K.M., Stemmer K, Cheng C, Mueller TD, Heppner KM, Ottaway N., Holland J, Hembree JL, Smiley D, Vasily G, Krishna R, Arafat A, Konkar A, Belli S, Kapps M, Woods SC, Hofmann SM, D’Alessio DA, Pfluger PT, Perez-Tilve D, Seeley RJ, Konishi M, Itoh N, Kharitonenkov A, Spranger J, DiMarchi RD, & Tschöp MH Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 Mediates Specific Glucagon Actions. Diabetes. 2013 May;62(5):1453-63. doi: 10.2337/db12-1116. PMID: 23305646
  9. Müller TD, Lee SJ, Jastroch M, Kabra D, Stemmer K, Aichler M, Abplanalp W, Ananthakrishnan G, Bhardwaj N, Collins S, Divanovic S, Endele M, Finan B, Gao Y, Habegger KM, Hembree J, Heppner KM, Hofmann S, Kuchler D, Kutschke M, Krishna R, Lehti M, Oelkrug R, Ottaway N, Perez-Tilve D, Raver C, Walch AK, Schriever S, Speakman J, Tseng YH, Diaz-Meco M, Pfluger PT, Moscat J, & Tschöp MH. p62 links beta-adrenergic input with mitochondrial function. J Clin Invest. 2013 Jan 2;123(1):469-78. doi: 10.1172/JCI64209. PMID: 23257354
  1. Finan B, Yang B, Ottaway N, Stemmer K, Müller TD, Yi CX, Habegger KM, Schriever SC, García-Cáceres C, Kabra DG, Hembree J, Holland J, Raver C, Seeley RJ, Hans W, Irmler M, Beckers J, de Angelis MH, Tiano JP, Mauvais-Jarvis F, Perez-Tilve D, Pfluger P, Zhang L, Gelfanov V, Dimarchi RD, Tschöp MH. Targeted estrogen delivery with Glucagon-like Peptide-1 amplifies metabolic benefits without toxicity. Nat Med. 2012 Dec 6;18(12):1847-56. doi: 10.1038/nm.3009.
  2. Habegger KM, Matzke D, Ottaway N, Hembree J, Holland J, Raver C, Mansfeld J, Müller TD, Perez-Tilve D, Pfluger PT, Lee SJ, Diaz-Meco M, Moscat J, Tschöp MH, and Hofmann SM. Role of adipose and hepatic atypical Protein Kinase C-lamda (PKC-λ) in the development of obesity and glucose intolerance. Adipocyte. 2012 Oct 1;1(4):203-214. PMID: 23700535
  3. Heppner KM, Chaudhary N, Müller TD, Kirchner H, Habegger KM, Ottaway N, Smiley DL, Dimarchi R, Hofmann SM, Woods SC, Sivertsen B, Holst B, Pfluger PT, Perez-Tilve D, Tschöp MH. Acylation Type Determines Ghrelin's Effects on Energy Homeostasis in Rodents. Endocrinology. 2012 Oct;153(10):4687-95. PMID: 22865372
  4. Kirchner H, Fischer A, Abplanalp W, Ottaway N, Hembree J, Müller TD, Hofmann S, Spranger J, Perez-Tilve D, Pfluger PT, Tschöp,M, & Habegger KM. Caloric restriction chronically impairs energy metabolism programming in mice. Diabetes. 2012 Nov;61(11):2734-42. doi: 10.2337/db11-1621 PMID: 22787140
  5. Nogueiras R, Habegger K, Chaudhary N, Finan B, Banks A, Dietrich M, Horvath T, Sinclair D, Pfluger P, & Tschoep M. Sirtuin 1 and Sirtuin 3: Physiological modulators of Metabolism. Physiological Reviews. Physiol Rev. 2012 Jul;92(3):1479-514. PMID: 22811431
  6. Müller TD*, Sullivan LM*, Habegger KM*, Yi CX, Kabra D, Grant E, Ottaway N, Krishna N, Holland J, Hembree J, Perez-Tilve D, Pfluger PT, DeGuzman MJ, Siladi M, Kraynov V, DiMarchi R, Axelrod DW, Pinkstaff JK & Tschöp MH. Treatment with Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 or Exendin 4 rescues leptin sensitivity in diet induced obese mice. J Pept Sci. 2012 Jun;18(6):383-93. doi:10.1002/psc.2408. PMID: 22565812 * co-first authorship.
  7. Habegger KM, Hoffman NJ, Ridenour CM, Brozinick JT, Elmendorf JS. 5’-AMP Dependent Protein Kinase Positively Influences the Insulin-Regulated Glucose Transport System in L6 Myotubes via Lowering Membrane Cholesterol. Endocrinology. 2012 May;153(5):2130-41. PMID: 22434076
  8. Yi CX, Heppner KM, Kirchner H, Tong J, Bielohuby M, Gaylinn BD, Müller TD, Bartley E, Davis HW, Zhao Y, Joseph A, Kruthaupt T, Ottaway N, Kabra D, Habegger KM, Benoit SC, Bidlingmaier M, Thorner MO, Perez-Tilve D, Tschöp MH, Pfluger PT. The GOAT-Ghrelin System Is Not Essential for Hypoglycemia Prevention during Prolonged Calorie Restriction. PLoS One. 2012;7(2):e32100. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0032100. PMID: 22363801
  9. Rediger A, Leonie Piechowski C, Habegger K, Grüters A, Krude H, Tschöp MH, Kleinau G, & Biebermann H. MC4R dimerization in the paraventricular nucleus and GHSR/MC3R heterodimerization in the arcuate nucleus: relevance for body weight regulation? Neuroendocrinology. 2012;95(4):277-88. doi: 10.1159/000334903. Review. PMID: 22327910
  10. Habegger KM, Tackett L, Sealls W, Bell LN, Awad MY, Blue E, Gallagher PJ, Sturek M, Alloosh MA, Steinberg H, Considine R, and Elmendorf JS. Fatty Acid-Induced Plasma Membrane Cholesterol Accrual and Insulin Resistance. Diabetologia. 2012 February; 55(2): 457–467. doi: 10.1007/s00125-011-2334-y
  11. Bielohuby M., Stemmer K., Berger J., Ramisch J., Smith K., Holland J., Parks K., Pfluger P.T., Habegger K. M., Tschöp M.H., Seeley R.J., and Bidlingmaier M. Carbohydrate content of post-operative diet influences the effect of vertical sleeve gastrectomy on bodyweight reduction in obese rats. Obes Surg. 2012 Jan;22(1):140-51. doi: 10.1007/s11695-011-0528-5. PMID: 21971629
  12. Habegger KM, Hoffman NJ, Ridenour CM, Brozinick JT, Elmendorf JS. AMPK Enhances Insulin-Stimulated GLUT4 Regulation via Lowering Membrane Cholesterol. Endocrinology. 2012 May;153(5):2130-41. doi: 10.1210/en.2011-2099. Epub 2012 Mar 20.
  1. Habegger KM, Grant E, Pfluger P, Perez-Tilve D, Daugherty A, Bruemmer D, Tschöp M & Hofmann S. Ghrelin receptor deficiency does not affect diet-induced atherosclerosis in low-density lipoprotein receptor-null mice. Frontiers in Systems and Translational Endocrinology. epub 2011 Nov 2 2:67. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2011.00067
  2. Perez-Tilve D, Habegger KM, Tschöp MH, Hofmann SM. Neural regulation of cholesterol metabolism. 2011 Aug;22(4):283-7. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0b013e328348a459. Review. PMID: 21734571
  3. Bhonagiri P, Pattar GR, Habegger KM, McCarthy AM, Tackett L, Elmendorf JS. Evidence Coupling Increased Hexosamine Biosynthesis Pathway Activity to Membrane Cholesterol Toxicity and Cortical Filamentous Actin Derangement Contributing to Cellular Insulin Resistance. Endocrinology. 2011 Jun 28. PMID: 21712361
  4. Yi CX, Habegger K, Chowen JA, Stern J, Tschöp M. A Role for Astrocytes in the Central Control of Metabolism. Review. Neuroendocrinology, 2011;93(3):143-9. Epub 2011 Mar 4.
  1. Habegger KM, Heppner KM, Geary N, Bartness TJ, DiMarchi R & Tschöp MH. The metabolic actions of glucagon revisited. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2010 Dec;6(12):689-97. Epub 2010 Oct 19.
  2. Tschöp J, Nogueiras R, Haas-Lockie S, Kasten KR, Castañeda TR, Huber N, Guanciale K, Perez-Tilve D, Habegger K, Ottaway N, Woods SC, Oldfield B, Clarke I, Chua S Jr, Farooqi IS, O'Rahilly S, Caldwell CC, Tschöp MH. CNS leptin action modulates immune response and survival in sepsis. J Neurosci. 2010 Apr 28;30(17):6036-47.
  3. Heppner KM, Habegger KM, Day J, Pfluger PT, Perez-Tilve D, Ward B, Gelfanov V, Woods SC, DiMarchi R, Tschöp M. Glucagon regulation of energy metabolism. Physiol Behav. 2010 Jul 14;100(5):545-8. Review. PMID: 20381509
  4. Carr LG, Habegger K, Spence JP, Liu L, Lumeng L, Foroud T. Development of congenic rat strains for alcohol consumption derived from the alcohol-preferring and nonpreferring rats. Behav Genet. 2006 Mar; 36(2):285-90. Epub 2006 Feb 10.
  5. Spence JP, Liang T, Habegger K, Carr LG. Effect of polymorphism on expression of the neuropeptide Y gene in inbred alcohol-preferring and -nonpreferring rats. Neuroscience. 2005;131(4):871-6.
  6. Liang T, Habegger K, Spence JP, Foroud T, Ellison JA, Lumeng L, Li TK, Carr LG. Glutathione S-transferase 8-8 expression is lower in alcohol-preferring than in alcohol-nonpreferring rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2004 Nov;28(11):1622-8.
  7. Carr LG, Habegger K, Spence J, Ritchotte A, Liu L, Lumeng L, Li TK, and Foroud T. Analyses of Quantitative Trait Loci Contributing to Alcohol Preference in HAD1/LAD1 and HAD2/LAD2 Rats. Alcohol Clin Exp Res (11):1710-7, 2003.