Phillipp Scherer, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and Director of the Touchstone Diabetes Center. He holds the Gifford O. Touchstone, Jr. and Randolph G. Touchstone Distinguished Chair in Diabetes Research and the Touchstone/West Distinguished Chair in Diabetes Research.

Originally from Switzerland, Dr. Scherer holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and a doctorate in biochemistry from the Biocenter at the University of Basel. He completed his postdoctoral training as a Research Fellow at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in the laboratory of Harvey Lodish, Ph.D.

Prior to joining the UT Southwestern faculty in 2007, he served as a faculty member at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he became a professor in 2006.

Dr. Scherer’s research focuses on adipose cells and their normal functions and roles in disease. His 1995 discovery that adipocytes produce the hormone adiponectin transformed the view of the cells, which had been regarded as simple storage sites for excess triglycerides. They are now seen as highly responsive to extracellular stimuli, playing a central role in overall energy homeostasis and essential for certain aspects of the immune system.

His investigations have resulted in more than 350 publications in peer-reviewed journals and contributions to more than 140 reviews, book chapters, and monographs. Additionally, he has presented his findings at scientific conferences throughout the U.S. and around the world. 

His honors include the “triple crown” of American, European, and Asian awards for diabetes research: the 2015 Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement, the 2017 EASD-Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence, and the 2018 Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research.

He has been listed by Thomson Reuters “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” as one of the most highly cited individuals in biology and biochemistry from 2004 to 2021. 

At UT Southwestern, Dr. Scherer oversees and teaches graduate- and medical-school courses, and has served on the university’s six-year planning committee.

He is active in several professional societies, including the American Diabetes Association, The Endocrine Society, the American Society for Microbiology, the American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association. 

He also serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Cell Metabolism.


(1988), Biochemistry
Graduate School
University of Basel (1988), Biology
Graduate School
University of Basel (1992), Biochemistry

Research Interest

  • Adipose Tissue
  • Interorgan Hormonal Crosstalk
  • Lipid Messengers
  • Obesity and Cancer
  • Obesity and Diabetes


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Why does obesity cause diabetes?
Klein S, Gastaldelli A, Yki-Järvinen H, Scherer PE, Cell Metab 2022 Jan 34 1 11-20
Response to Kunos et al. and Lotersztajn and Mallat.
Wang S, Zhu Q, Liang G, Franks T, Boucher M, Bence KK, Lu M, Castorena CM, Zhao S, Elmquist JK, Scherer PE, Horton JD, J Clin Invest 2022 Jan 132 1
The metabolic syndrome, thiazolidinediones, and implications for intersection of chronic and inflammatory disease.
Colca JR, Scherer PE, Mol Metab 2021 Dec 55 101409
Mitochondrial regulation and white adipose tissue homeostasis.
Zhu Q, An YA, Scherer PE, Trends Cell Biol 2021 Nov
Skin aging: Dermal adipocytes metabolically reprogram dermal fibroblasts.
Kruglikov IL, Zhang Z, Scherer PE, Bioessays 2021 Nov e2100207
Obesity, Diabetes, and Increased Cancer Progression.
Kim DS, Scherer PE, Diabetes Metab J 2021 Nov 45 6 799-812
Integrated Stress Response Couples Mitochondrial Protein Translation with Oxidative Stress Control.
Zhang G, Wang X, Li C, Li Q, An YA, Luo X, Deng Y, Gillette TG, Scherer PE, Wang ZV, Circulation 2021 Sep
Cannabinoid receptor-1 signaling in hepatocytes and stellate cells does not contribute to NAFLD.
Wang S, Zhu Q, Liang G, Franks T, Boucher M, Bence KK, Lu M, Castorena CM, Zhao S, Elmquist JK, Scherer PE, Horton JD, J Clin Invest 2021 Sep
Extracellular vesicle-based interorgan transport of mitochondria from energetically stressed adipocytes.
Crewe C, Funcke JB, Li S, Joffin N, Gliniak CM, Ghaben AL, An YA, Sadek HA, Gordillo R, Akgul Y, Chen S, Samovski D, Fischer-Posovszky P, Kusminski CM, Klein S, Scherer PE, Cell Metab 2021 Aug
Adipose tissue hyaluronan production improves systemic glucose homeostasis and primes adipocytes for CL 316,243-stimulated lipolysis.
Zhu Y, Li N, Huang M, Bartels M, Dogné S, Zhao S, Chen X, Crewe C, Straub L, Vishvanath L, Zhang Z, Shao M, Yang Y, Gliniak CM, Gordillo R, Smith GI, Holland WL, Gupta RK, Dong B, Caron N, Xu Y, Akgul Y, Klein S, Scherer PE, Nat Commun 2021 08 12 1 4829

Honors & Awards

  • Transatlantic Medal 2022
    Society for Endocrinology (United Kingdom) (2022)
  • Basic and Translational Science Award
    International Diabetes Federation (IDF) (2019)
  • Manpei Suzuki International Prize for Diabetes Research
    Japanese Diabetes Prize (2018)
  • The Gerald M. Reaven Distinguished Leader in Insulin Resistance Award
    WCIRDC (2018)
  • Novo Nordisk Found Diabetes Prize for Excellence
    Eur. Assoc. for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) (2017)
  • Banting Medal
    American Diabetes Association (2015)
  • Naomi Berrie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Diabetes Research
    Columbia University (2013)
  • J. Dennis McGarry Award for Outstanding Healthcare Professional
    American Diabetes Association, North Texas (2012)
  • O’Donnell Award in Medicine
    TAMEST (The Academy of Medicine, Engin. & Science of Texas) (2012)
  • Vladimir Nigrovic Award of Excellence
    University of Toledo (2009)
  • Texas Stars Award
    University of Texas (2007)
  • Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award
    Lilly Award - American Diabetes Association (2005)
  • Irma T. Hirschl/Monique Weill-Caulier Trust Research Award

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Cancer Society
  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Heart Association
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • The Endocrine Society