Aaron M. Cypess, assistant investigator in the Section on Integrative Physiology & Metabolism and staff physician at Joslin Diabetes Center and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, is the recipient of the 2014 Armen H. Tashjian Jr. Award for Excellence in Endocrine Research, presented annually by the Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).
Cypess received the award May 2, 2014 at the School and delivered the talk, “Determining the Endocrine Roles of a New Organ, Human Brown Adipose Tissue” at the annual award ceremony and lecture. The award was presented by Gökhan S. Hotamisligil, J.S. Simmons Professor of Genetics and Metabolism and chair, Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases at HSPH.
Cypess’ work focuses on brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat, as it relates to metabolism, in an effort to better understand whether brown fat can contribute to the treatment of obesity. In 2009, he and his colleagues discovered that brown fat is a functional organ in adult humans—a significant finding because, prior to this, many doubted the existence of brown fat. Cypess and his team currently are studying drugs that have promise for activating both brown and white fat, for potential use one day in combatting type 2 diabetes, obesity, and metabolic diseases.
Armen Tashjian was professor of toxicology, emeritus, in HSPH’s Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases. He led the School’s toxicology program for nearly three decades. The Tashjian Research Award recognizes promising young Harvard-affiliated faculty members and post-doctoral researchers pursuing novel areas in endocrine and related research.