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Michael Scott Freemark, MD

Robert C. Atkins, M.D. and Veronica Atkins Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics, in the School of Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics
Chief, Divison of Pediatric Endocrinology
Affiliate, Duke Global Health Institute
Member of Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center
Campus mail: Box 102820 Med Ctr, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 684-8350
Email address:

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.

Education and Training

  • M.D., Duke University, 1976
  • B.A., Brandeis University, 1972

Selected Grants and Awards


Dubois, P. J., M. Freemark, D. Lewis, B. P. Drayer, E. R. Heinz, and D. Osborne. “Atypical findings in adrenoleukodystrophy.” Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography 5, no. 6 (January 1, 1981): 888–91.

Full Text

Raffin, B. J., and M. Freemark. “Streptobacillary rat-bite fever: a pediatric problem.” Pediatrics 64, no. 2 (August 1979): 214–17.


Freemark, M., D. M. Stoff, E. A. Moja, J. C. Gillin, and R. J. Wyatt. “Testosterone-attenuated stereotype and hyperactivity induced by beta-phenylethylamine in pargyline-pretreated rats.” Biol Psychiatry 13, no. 4 (August 1978): 455–63.