Dr. Zigman grew up in New Jersey and performed undergraduate studies at Cornell University. He obtained a dual MD-PhD degree from the University of Chicago, and remained in Chicago to complete an Internal Medicine residency. Dr. Zigman next moved to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where he completed a fellowship in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. It was in Boston, while working under the mentorship of Drs. Joel Elmquist and Jeffrey Garber, where Dr. Zigman’s research and clinical interests in the hormone ghrelin and thyroid nodular disease, respectively, first arose. Dr. Zigman is currently an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he is affiliated with the Division of Hypothalamic Research and the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism. He holds a secondary appointment in the Dept. of Psychiatry and also is affiliated with the Integrative Biology Graduate Program and the Neuroscience Graduate Program. His clinic primarily focuses on the treatment of individuals with thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. Dr. Zigman’s research is geared toward understanding the neuro-hormonal framework underlying complex eating behaviors, including those linked to stress and depression.  Much of the work of the Zigman lab has focused on the ghrelin system, including mechanisms by which the ghrelin system engages orexigenic, glucoregulatory, and antidepressant behaviors and mechanisms controlling ghrelin secretion.  In addition to ghrelin, the lab also investigates other hormones released by the stomach.  Conditions studied by the lab include obesity, depression, psychosocial stress, diabetes, cachexia, and Prader-Willi Syndrome.


Medical School
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (1997)
University of Chicago Hospitals (2000), Internal Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (2003), Endocrinology & Metabolism

Research Interest

  • Diabetes and hypoglycemia
  • Ghrelin biosynthesis, ghrelin secretion and ghrelin cell physiology
  • Ghrelin's role in mood (depression) and stress
  • Neuro-hormonal framework linking complex eating behaviors to mood
  • Obesity
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome
  • Stomach and intestine endocrine (enteroendocrine) cell function
  • The role of ghrelin in eating behaviors of various types: food intake to survive, eating for pleasure (reward-based eating), eating upon stress


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Ghrelin Receptor Agonist Rescues Excess Neonatal Mortality in a Prader-Willi Syndrome Mouse Model.
Rodriguez JA, Bruggeman EC, Mani BK, Osborne-Lawrence S, Lord CC, Roseman H, Viroslav HL, Vijayaraghavan P, Metzger NP, Gupta D, Shankar K, Pietra C, Liu C, Zigman JM Endocrinology 2018 Oct
Ghrelin receptor signaling targets segregated clusters of neurons within the nucleus of the solitary tract.
Cornejo MP, De Francesco PN, GarcĂ­a Romero G, Portiansky EL, Zigman JM, Reynaldo M, Perello M Brain Struct Funct 2018 May
Hypothalamic loss of Snord116 and Prader-Willi syndrome hyperphagia: the buck stops here?
Rodriguez JA, Zigman JM J. Clin. Invest. 2018 Jan
Ghrelin mediates exercise endurance and the feeding response post-exercise.
Mani BK, Castorena CM, Osborne-Lawrence S, Vijayaraghavan P, Metzger NP, Elmquist JK, Zigman JM Mol Metab 2018 Jan
Ghrelin as a Survival Hormone.
Mani BK, Zigman JM Trends Endocrinol. Metab. 2017 Dec 28 12 843-854


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Obesity. In Pocket Primary Care

Zigman J (2001). Philadelphia, Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins

Muscle cramps. In Pocket Primary Care

Zigman, J. (2001). Philadelphia, Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins

Mechanisms of homeostatically regulated behaviors. In Neuroscience in the 21st Century

Elmquist J, Zigman J, Saper C. (2011). Berlin, Springer-Verlag GmbH

Honors & Awards

  • Top Doctor
    Named by Castle Connolly (2015)
  • Patricia Usher Memorial Lecture speaker
    Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston (2014)
  • Class of 2014 (MS2) Outstanding Teaching Award 2011-2012
    The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2012)
  • Diana and Richard C. Strauss Professorship in Biomedical Research
  • Election as a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation
    American Society for Clinical Investigation (2012)
  • Mr. and Mrs. Bruce G. Brookshire Professorship in Medicine
  • Class of 2013 (MS2) Outstanding Teaching Award 2010-2011
    The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2011)
  • Top Doctor
    U.S. News & World Report (2011)
  • Class of 2013 (MS1) Outstanding Teaching Award in Physiology 2009-2010
    The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2010)
  • UTSW Medical Center Disease Oriented Clinical Scholar
    The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2006)
  • Graduation Cum Laude and with distinction in all subjects; Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society from Cornell University
    Cornell University (1989)
  • National Institutes of Health Medical Scientist Training Program
    The University of Chicago (1989)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Society for Clinical Investigation (2012)
  • American Thyroid Association (2009)
  • The Endocrine Society (2009)
  • The Obesity Society (2008)
  • American Diabetes Association (2004)
  • American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (2000)