Dr. Foster holds the John Denis McGarry, Ph.D. Distinguished Chair in Diabetes and Metabolic Research in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas. A graduate of Southwestern, he took his residency in Internal Medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas before moving to the NIH for a research fellowship. He returned to the faculty following his tenure at the NIH and was elected chair in 1988.

Dr. Foster is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He is a Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a Master of the American College of Physicians and recently served as President of the Association of Professors of Medicine. He is currently President of the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Sciences of Texas. At the National Institutes of Health, he was chair of the Metabolism Study Section, was a member of the NIDDK Advisory Council and served two terms on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the Clinical Center.

Dr. Foster's research has focused for many years on the intermediary metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. With his colleague, J. Denis McGarry, he discovered the malonyl-CoA regulatory system for fatty acid oxidation and ketogenesis, for which he received the Banting Medal. He received the Robert H. Williams Distinguished Chair of Medicine Award of the Associate of Professors of Medicine in February 2001. Dr. Foster was Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation from 1972-1977 and was Editor of Diabetes from 1978-1983. He is co-editor (with J.D. Wilson) of the Williams Textbook of Endocrinology and writes for a number of other textbooks.


University of Texas at El Paso (1951)
Medical School
UT Southwestern Medical Center (1955)

Research Interest

  • Fatty Acid Oxidation
  • Intermediary metabolism


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Roles of the amino- and carboxy-terminal domains of carnitine palmitoyltransferase I isoforms in malonyl-CoA sensitivity of the enzymes. Insights from expression of chimeric proteins and mutation of conserved histidine residues
Swanson ST; Foster DW; McGarry JD; Brown NF Biochem J 1999 335 513 - 519
Fine chromosome mapping of the genes for human liver and muscle carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT1A and CPT1B).
Britton CH; Mackey DW; Esser V; Foster DW; Burns DK; Yarnall DP; Froguel P; McGarry JD Genomics 1997 40 209 - 211
Mitochondrial carnitine palmitoyltransferase I isoform switching in the developing rat heart.
Brown NF; Weis BC; Hustie JE; Foster DW; McGarry JD Journal of Biological Chemistry 1995 270 8952 - 8957
Human liver mitochondrial carnitine palmitoyltransferase I: Characterization of its cDNA and chromosomal localization and partial analysis of the gene.
Britton CH; Schultz RA; Zhang B; Esser V; Foster DW; McGarry JD. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 1995 92 1984 - 1988
Rat heart expresses two forms of mitochondrial carnitine palmitoyltransferase I. The minor component is identical to the liver enzyme.
Weis BC; Esser V; Foster DW; McGarry JD. Journal of Biological Chemistry 1994 269 18712 - 18715

Honors & Awards

  • Alpha Omega Alpha Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teaching Award
  • Eric G. Neilson, M.D., Distinguished Professor Award
    Associate of Specialty Professors (2007)
  • J. Denis McGarry Award for Scientific/Community Excellence
  • The Daniel W. Martin Science Award
  • Great Teacher Award
    National Institutes of Health (2002)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American College of Physicians, Master
  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Federation for Medical Research
  • American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
  • Association of American Physicians