Jeffrey Flier

Senior Fellow

Jeffrey S. Flier became the 21st Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University on September 1, 2007. His term as Dean ended in 2016 after nine years.

Flier, an endocrinologist and an authority on the molecular causes of obesity and diabetes, is the Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor and Higginson Professor of Medicine and Neurobiology at HMS. Previously he had served as Harvard Medical School Faculty Dean for Academic Programs and Chief Academic Officer for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard teaching affiliate. Flier is one of the country’s leading investigators in the areas of obesity and diabetes. His research has produced major insights into the molecular mechanism of insulin action, the molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance in human disease, and the molecular pathophysiology of obesity.

Flier was born in New York City. He received a BS from City College of New York in 1968, and an MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1972, graduating with the Elster Award for Highest Academic Standing. Following residency training in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital from 1972 to 1974, he moved to the National Institutes of Health as a clinical associate. In 1978, he joined the faculty of medicine at Harvard Medical School, serving as chief of the diabetes unit at Beth Israel Hospital until 1990, when he was named chief of the hospital’s endocrine division. In 2002, Flier was named Chief Academic Officer of Beth Israel Deaconess, a newly created senior position responsible for research and academic programs. He worked with hospital academic department chairs to ensure the quality and breadth of academic programs at Beth Israel Deaconess, through which most HMS students pass. He also served as the formal liaison to HMS, sitting on the Council of Academic Deans.

Additionally, he has authored more than 200 scholarly papers and reviews. An elected member of The National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, his honors also include the Eli Lilly Award of the American Diabetes Association, the Berson Lecture of the American Physiological Society, and honorary doctorates from the University of Athens and the University of Edinburgh. He was the recipient of the 2003 Edwin B. Astwood Lecture Award from the Endocrine Society and, in 2005, he received the Banting Medal from the American Diabetes Association, its highest scientific honor.

Flier has been an active contributor to policy issues related to health and science through academic papers, op-eds and Twitter. You may find him on Twitter here.

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