Biography: Daniel H. Bessesen, MD

Daniel H. Bessesen, MD
  • Professor of Medicine
  • Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes
  • University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Chief of Endocrinology
  • Denver Health Medical Center
  • Interim Director
  • Anschutz Health and Wellness Center
  • Denver, CO

Daniel Bessesen, MD has been involved with basic and clinical research on body weight regulation and the problem of obesity for over 25 years. He initially conducted studies in animal models of obesity on the movement of dietary fat between tissues to be stored or oxidized. He became interested in how nutrients are sensed by the brain and how problems with nutrient sensing might relate to a predisposition to or protection against weight gain. He conducted a longitudinal study examining the effects of overfeeding on energy expenditure, physical activity, appetite, an nutrient oxidation in naturally thin people and individuals prone to weight gain. Regional brain activity measured with functional MRI in response to food related stimuli were also examined. These studies unexpectedly demonstrated differences in nocturnal metabolism in naturally thin people following overfeeding. His current work examines the effects of exercise and overfeeding on nocturnal metabolism, lipolysis and clock gene expression in adipose tissue. Dr. Bessesen has also completed a pragmatic trial of obesity treatment in primary care and other studies of obesity pharmacotherapy in a database of over 2 million obese patients cared for in 8 health care organizations across the country. These studies were funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

Dr. Bessesen is also the Fellowship Program Director for training in Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes at the University of Colorado and is the Director of the Clinical Core and Pilot Project Program of the NIH funded Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center. He served on the Endocrine Society’s guideline committee on the pharmacotherapy of obesity, and the American Thoracic Society’s guideline committee on the treatment of obesity in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. He chaired the Endocrine Society’s Obesity Expert Panel from 2014-6 and has been on the councils of the Obesity Society and the Association of Program Directors in Endocrinology and Metabolism. He has authored 87 manuscripts and edited 3 textbooks on the evaluation and treatment of the obese patient.

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