Leonie Heilbronn

Associate Professor Leonie Heilbronn

Group Leader

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Associate Professor Leonie Heilbronn is the leader of the Obesity and Metabolism group based within the Lifelong Health Theme at SAHMRI. She has a sustained record of translating basic discoveries in nutrition to humans and has contributed to current concepts of caloric restriction (CR), intermittent fasting (IF) and time restricted eating (TRE) in humans. She is keenly interested in understanding mechanisms of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle and in adipose tissue utilising nutritional perturbations. She is a member of the CRE - Translating Nutritional Sciences to Good Health and Robinson Research Institute. She is an Associate Editor of Obesity and Obesity Research and Clinical Practice.

Research Interests

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR LEONIE HEILBRONN is based at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), where she leads the Obesity and Metabolism laboratory. Her research is at the interface between basic and clinical science, and her research goal is to reduce chronic disease risk and insulin resistance through a greater understanding of nutrition and metabolism, and mechanisms underpinning these relationships particularly in muscle and adipose tissue.  She has published more than 90 peer reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2014 Senior Research Fellow South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
    2010 Group Leader, Obesity and Metabolism Lab The University of Adelaide
    2005 - 2009 Research Fellow Garvan Institute of Medical Research
    2002 - 2004 Postdoctoral Researcher Pennington Biomedical Research Center
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2014 Award Diabetes Australia Research Trust Grant Award Australian Diabetes Society Australia
    2012 Fellowship ARC Future Fellowship Australian Research Council Australia 809,000
    2010 Award Young Tall Poppy Science Award Australian Institute of Policy and Science Australia
    2008 Fellowship Career Development Award I Fellowship NHMRC Australia 370,000
    2004 Fellowship Peter Doherty Biomedical Fellowship NHMRC Australia
    2004 Award The Glenn Award American Ageing Association United States
    1998 Award Ross Wishart Memorial Award for Best Student Oral Australian Society for Medical Research Australia
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    1998 - 2001 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
    1997 - 1997 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Science (Honours)
    1994 - 1996 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Science
  • Research Interests

Date Project/ No. Investigators Funding Body Amount
2016 - 2019 Altering meal times to reverse metabolic consequences of shift work/Project ID APP1099077 Banks S, Heilbronn LK, Kennaway D, Coates A, Dorian J NHMRC  770,000
2016 Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) as a marker of aggressive prostate cancer and mediator of resistance to androgen deprivation Wittert GA, Butler LM, Hoy A, Vincent A, Heilbronn L, Selth L Royal Adelaide Hospital Clinical Project Grant 48,433
2016 Is mitochondrial dysfunction in IVF blastocysts responsible for impaired glucose metabolism in offspring? Robker RL, Heilbronn LK, Chen M, Wu L Diabetes Australia Research Program (DARP) 60,000
2015 Determination of the effect of relative hyperglycaemia on markers of cardiovascular risk Burt MG, Mangoni A, Heilbronn L Faculty of Health Science, Flinders University 19,000
2015 Intermittent fasting for weight loss and metabolic health, does meal timing matter? Heilbronn LK, Wittert GA, Hutchison A Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Committee 50,000
2014 Examining the time course of the insulin sensitising effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy DW Wilkinson, IA Chapman, LK Heilbronn Australian Diving and Hyperbaric Medicine Research Trust 32,000
2014 Can 6 minutes of high intensity exercise mitigate the adverse effects of an overfeeding diet?   Royal Adelaide Hospital Research Committee 50,000
2014 Effects of intermittent fasting on the inflammatory profile in serum and adipose tissue LK Heilbronn Diabetes Australia Research Trust (DART) 60,000
2013 Metabolic monitoring in animal models of obesity AJ Page, LK Heilbronn, RL Young, SM Brierly, TJ Little NHMRC Equipment Grant 94.864
2012 - 2015 Does periodic fasting improve insulin sensitivity and metabolic health in humans? Project grant APP1023401 LK Heilbronn, GA Wittert NHMRC 809,130
2012 Does hyperbaric oxygen therapy alter insulin sensitivity in humans? LK Heilbronn Diabetes Australia Research Trust (DART) 60,000
2012 Does IVF impair insulin sensitivity in humans LK Heilbronn, RJ Norman, M Davies Channel 7 Foundation 75,000
2011 Is insulin sensitivity improved by hyperbaric oxygen therapy? LK Heilbronn Mary Overton New Investigator Project Grant, RAH 50,000
2011 Studies in Nutritional Physiology and Related Diseases Wittert G, Horowitz M, Chapman I, Rayner C, Feinle-Bisset C, Jones KL, Heilbronn LK NHMRC Equipment grant 25,000
2010 Metabolic phenotyping of individuals born through in-vitro fertilization LK Heilbronn, RJ Norman Robinson Institute Collaborative Research Funding Scheme 10,000
2009 Measuring Insulin Sensitivity in Humans LK Heilbronn, GA Wittert, RJ Norman NHMRC Equipment Grant 20,000
2008 Measuring energy expenditure and fat oxidation in type 2 diabetes LK Heilbronn, LV Campbell, DJ Chisholm Rebecca L. Cooper Foundation Equipment Grant 20,000
2008 Adipose tissue macrophages and insulin resistance in humans LK Heilbronn Diabetes Australia Research Trust (DART) 50,000
2007- 2009 Short-Term Effects of Overfeeding on Skeletal Muscle Plasticity and Metabolic Risk in Humans/ Project ID 427639 LK Heilbronn, LV Campbell NHMRC Project Grant 400,625
2003 Effects of intermittent fasting on genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation and fat oxidation LK Heilbronn Pennington Biomedical Research Grant for Young Investigators 60,000
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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 Principal Supervisor Intermittent Fasting Versus Calorie Restriction to Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Xiao Tong Teong
    2017 Principal Supervisor Impact of Time-Restricted Feeding on Glucose Metab and Health in Type 11 Diabetes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Prashant Regmi
    2017 Co-Supervisor Altered Dietary Intake in Mice and the Prolonged Effects on Glucose Tolerance Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rebecca Jane O'Rielly
    2017 Principal Supervisor Impact of prolonged fasting and shiftwork in Autophagy and Telomere and risk of Type 2 Diabetes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Rajesh Chaudhary
    2017 Principal Supervisor The Metabolic Impacts of Fasting and Time Restricted Feeding in Humans at Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Lijun Zhao
    2015 Co-Supervisor Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin: Regulation and Role as a Marker of Chronic Disease Risk Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Prabin Gyawali
    2012 Co-Supervisor The Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen on Glucose Homeostasis Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr David Wilkinson
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Dietary Intervention and Tissue Remodelling Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Bo Liu
    2010 - 2011 Co-Supervisor The Effect of Dietary Fatty Acid Composition on Skeletal Muscle and Hepatic Fatty Acid and Glucose Metabolism in Male and Female Mice Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Lisa Philp
    2010 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Metabolic Phenotyping of Young Adults and Mice Born Through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Miaoxin Chen
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  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2016 - ongoing Member NHMRC Academy Assigner National Health and Medical Research Council Australia
    2015 - ongoing Member NHMRC Panel Member National Health and Medical Research Council Australia
    2006 - 2008 Secretary ANZOS scientific meeting Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2009 - ongoing Member Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) Australia
    2009 - ongoing Member Australian New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) Australia
    1999 - ongoing Member Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2018 - ongoing Associate Editor Obesity The University of Adelaide Australia
    2016 - ongoing Editor Clinical Trials Corner, Nutrition and Healthy Aging Australia
    2015 - ongoing Associate Editor Obesity Research and Clinical Practice
  • Position: Group Leader
  • Phone: 81284838
  • Email: leonie.heilbronn@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace West
  • Building: SAHMRI, floor 7
  • Org Unit: Medical Specialties

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