Michael S. Freemark, MD



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Professor of Pediatrics
Division Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology
Robert C. Atkins, MD, and Veronica Atkins Professor of Pediatrics
Vice Chair of Pediatric Research
Department / Division:
Pediatrics / Pediatrics-Endocrinology
DUMC 102820
Durham, NC 27710
Appointment Telephone:
Office Telephone:
  • MD, Duke University School of Medicine, 1976
  • Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, 1976-1979
  • Pediatric Endocrinology, Duke University Medical Center, 1980-1984
  • Molecular Endocrinology, Lineberger Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, 1990
  • Molecular Endocrinology, Necker Hospital for Sick Children (France), 1993, 2006
Other Training:
  • BA, Brandeis University (Massachusetts), 1972
Clinical Interests:
Pediatric endocrinology; hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction; disorders of growth, thyroid function, and sexual development; diabetes mellitus; insulin resistance; celiac disease in diabetic children, hyperlipidemia
Research Interests:
The primary objective of my basic research has been to elucidate the roles of placental and fetal hormones in the regulation of maternal metabolism and fetal growth. My work has focused on the lactogenic hormones produced by the pituitary gland and placenta. In recent studies we have used targeted knockout mice to explore the molecular mechanisms by which prolactin and placental lactogen regulate pancreatic beta cell mass and insulin production during pregnancy and postnatal life.
I also have a clinical research interest in the pathogenesis and treatment of obesity and hyperlipidemia and the prevention of type 2 diabetes. In previous studies we showed that the drug metformin reduces fat stores and blood glucose and insulin levels in obese adolescents and may reduce the risk of progression to diabetes in selected patients. We have also examined the unique metabolic characteristics of Prader Willi syndrome, a genetic obesity disorder. Finally, we have recently completed a detailed study of metabolism in malnourished children in Uganda and characterized the effects of concurrent HIV infection on nutritional recovery.
Representative Publications:
  • Higgins, SP; Freemark, M; Prose, NS. Acanthosis nigricans: a practical approach to evaluation and management. Dermatology Online Journal. 2008;14:2.  Abstract
  • Fleenor, DE; Freemark, M. Prolactin induction of insulin gene transcription: roles of glucose and signal transducer and activator of transcription 5. Endocrinology. 2001;142:2805-2810.  Abstract
  • Freemark, M; Driscoll, P; Andrews, J; Kelly, PA; Royster, M. Ontogenesis of prolactin receptor gene expression in the rat olfactory system: potential roles for lactogenic hormones in olfactory development. Endocrinology. 1996;137:934-942.  Abstract
  • Royster, M; Driscoll, P; Kelly, PA; Freemark, M. The prolactin receptor in the fetal rat: cellular localization of messenger ribonucleic acid, immunoreactive protein, and ligand-binding activity and induction of expression in late gestation. Endocrinology. 1995;136:3892-3900.  Abstract
  • Fowlkes, J; Freemark, M. Evidence for a novel insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-dependent protease regulating IGF-binding protein-4 in dermal fibroblasts. Endocrinology. 1992;131:2071-2076.  Abstract
  • Freemark, M; Comer, M; Mularoni, T; D'Ercole, AJ; Grandis, A; Kodack, L. Placental lactogen receptors in maternal sheep liver: effects of fasting and refeeding. American Journal of Physiology. 1990;258:E338-E346.  Abstract
  • Freemark, M; Handwerger, S. Ovine placental lactogen, but not growth hormone, stimulates amino acid transport in fetal rat diaphragm. Endocrinology. 1983;112:402-404.  Abstract
  • Dubois, PJ; Freemark, M; Lewis, D; Drayer, BP; Heinz, ER; Osborne, D. Case report. Atypical findings in adrenoleukodystrophy. Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: a radiological journal dedicated to the basic and clinical aspects of reconstructive tomography. 1981;5:888-891.  Abstract
  • Raffin, BJ; Freemark, M. Streptobacillary rat-bite fever: a pediatric problem. Pediatrics. 1979;64:214-217.  Abstract