Leonie Heilbronn

Professor Leonie Heilbronn

Professorial Research Fellow (E)

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

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


Prof. Heilbronn is a translational investigator in obesity and diabetes research with a focus on the physiological and molecular basis of obesity. She has a particular interest in understanding how fasting activates nutrient signalling pathways to improve health and has contributed to current concepts in calorie restriction, intermittent fasting and time restricted eating. She has published more than 125 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and has a current h-index of 42. She is an Associate Editor of Obesity and Obesity Research and Clinical Practice. She is currently Vice President of the Australia and New Zealand Obesity Society and Associate Member of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science.

Research Interests

PROFESSOR LEONIE HEILBRONN leads the Obesity and Metabolism laboratory which is based within the Lifelong Health Theme at SAHMRI. Her research is primarily performed in humans with obesity, and is focused on understanding the impacts of nutritional modulation on insulin resistance and metabolism to reduce the risk of chronic disease. She has contributed to current concepts of caloric restriction (CR), intermittent fasting (IF) and time restricted eating (TRE) in humans and also interested in the developmental origins of obesity. Currently, she has projects that examine intermittent fasting and altering meal and macronutrient timing on glucose and lipid metabolism in humans.  

Available Research Projects

Project 1 - Does when you eat matter more than what you eat?

Project description: We currently have two projects available examining the effects of meal timing on metabolic health in individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes. These studies involve clinical and laboratory based work (e.g. qPCR, immunohistochemistry, ELISA, RIA) examining the impact of these interventions on circadian rhythms, lipid metabolism and mitochondrial function, as well as clinical studies in humans  examining glucose by continuous glucose monitors, physical activity, diet and participant wellbeing. New projects examining the impact of altering dietary macronutrients on nutrient signalling pathways and metabolic health will soon be underway.  

Projects available for: Honours / HDR
Location:  SAHMRI
Research project start: Anytime.
Special requirements: Hep B vaccination required

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2014 - ongoing Senior Research Fellow South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute
    2010 - ongoing 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
    2020 Award Top citation award Endocrinology United Kingdom
    2020 Award Top 10% paper award Obesity United States
    2020 Award Paper of the Year Award Exercise and Sports Sciences Reviews United States
    2019 Award Paper of the Year Award Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease United Kingdom
    2019 Award Top 10% paper award Obesity United States
    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
2022-24 Only a matter of time? A comparison of caloric restriction versus time restriction of food intake. Heilbronn, Banks, Hutchison, Wittert NHMRC 1,189,927
2021-3 Moderate protein intake counteracts Alzheimer’s disease: examination of nutrition signaling and the lysosomal system. Sargeant, Heilbronn, Bensalem Bright Focus Foundation 360,000
2021-24

Time Restricted EATing to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (TREAT)

Heilbronn LK, Hawley J, Hutchison A, Devlin B, Parr E

MRFF 1,012,000
2020-22 Varying meal timing impacts on type 2 diabetes risk Heilbronn LK THRF 122,000
2019

Will a protein pre-load before the evening meal improve glucose tolerance in shift workers?

Hutchison, Heilbronn, Banks Diabetes Australia Research Program 58,000
2019-2022 A novel nutrient supplement with potent appetite-supressant and glucose lowering effects – translating clinical research into an innovative treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes. APP Feinle-Bisset C, Heilbronn LK, Poppit S NHMRC 964,000
2018-2021 Intermittent fasting versus daily caloric restriction for improved health in individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes APP1143092 Heilbronn LK, Feinle-Bisset NHMRC 987,000
2018 Time restricted feeding, glycemic control and the adipose tissue transcriptome Heilbronn, Wittert, Banks Diabetes Australia Research Program (DARP) $60,000
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
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Co-Supervisor Bitter food compounds in the diet, the association with obesity and type 2 diabetes and the underlying mechanisms Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Zinat Mohammadpour
    2020 Principal Supervisor Nutritional strategies to improve health in individuals at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Mrs Rasha Charrouf
    2019 Principal Supervisor Effect of meal timing and intermittent fasting on metabolic health Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Kai Liu
    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
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2017 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Dietary, Lifestyle and Pharmaceutical Interventions for the Treatment of Metabolic Diseases Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rebecca Jane O'Rielly
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Impact of Time Restricted Feeding on Glucose Metabolism and Metabolic Health Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Prashant Regmi
    2017 - 2021 Principal Supervisor Role of Nutritional Intervention on Metabolic Health and Autophagy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Rajesh Chaudhary
    2017 - 2022 Principal Supervisor CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS, INTERMITTENT FASTING, METABOLIC HEALTH Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Lijun Zhao
    2015 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin: Regulation and Role as a Marker of Chronic Disease Risk Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Prabin Gyawali
    2014 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Dietary Intervention and Tissue Remodelling Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Bo Liu
    2012 - 2020 Co-Supervisor HYPERBARIC OXYGEN AND INSULIN SENSITIVITY Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr David Wilkinson
    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
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2022 - 2022 Chair Program Organising Committee International Congress on Obesity Australia
    2021 - ongoing Member Postgraduate Coordinator, Adelaide Medical School The University of Adelaide Australia
    2021 - 2022 Member Steering Committee SA Womens Health Research Translation Network Australia
    2020 - 2022 Member Adelaide Medical School Research Committee The University of Adelaide Australia
    2020 - 2020 Convener ANZOS Online Research Update Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society Australia
    2019 - ongoing Vice-President Australia New Zealand Obesity Society ANZOS Australia
    2017 - 2019 Member Adelaide Biomed City Consumer Engagement Committee SAHMRI Australia
    2006 - 2008 Secretary ANZOS scientific meeting Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2021 - ongoing Member Australian Academy of Health Sciences Australia
    2020 - ongoing Co-Deputy Director Nutrition, Diabetes and Gut Health Program Australia
    2017 - 2020 Representative Scientific Board of the Maggie Beer Foundation Australia
    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
  • Community Engagement

    Date Title Engagement Type Institution Country
    2022 - 2022 Living proof panellist Public Community Engagement SAHMRI Australia
    2021 - 2021 Secret powers of fruits Public Community Engagement Channel 7 News Australia
    2021 - 2021 What happens when you fast? Public Community Engagement ABC Catalyst Australia
    2021 - 2021 Panel member Public Community Engagement Healthy Development Adelaide Australia
    2021 - 2021 Speaker for The Obesity Collective Public Community Engagement World Obesity Day Australia
    2021 - 2021 Podcast with Dave Asprey Public Community Engagement Bulletproof Radio
    2021 - 2021 Talk with the expert Public Community Engagement WIN Network Australia
    2021 - 2021 Interview for article on Time Restricted Eating Public Community Engagement Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Australia
    2021 - 2021 Radio interview Public Community Engagement 5AA radio Australia
    2020 - 2020 QandA: Unravelling the myths of popular diets Public Community Engagement Queen Adelaide Club Australia
    2020 - 2020 Radio interview Public Community Engagement 3AW Australia
    2019 - 2019 Podcast episode on Intermittent Fasting/Time Restricted Eating Public Community Engagement Sigma Nutrition Radio Australia
    2018 - 2018 A dietary strategy that counts time, not calories Public Community Engagement Wall Street Journal United States
    2018 - 2018 Public lectures on Intermittent Fasting Public Community Engagement SAHMRI Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2022 - ongoing Associate Editor European Journal of Endocrinology European Journal of Endocrinology United Kingdom
    2018 - ongoing Associate Editor Obesity Obesity Australia
    2016 - ongoing Editor Clinical Trials Corner, Nutrition and Healthy Aging Clinical Trials Corner, Nutrition and Healthy Aging Australia
    2015 - ongoing Associate Editor Obesity Research and Clinical Practice
  • Review, Assessment, Editorial and Advice

    Date Title Type Institution Country
    2019 - 2021 NHMRC Investigator Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment National Health and Medical Research Council Australia
    2018 - ongoing External Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment Medical Research Future Fund Australia
    2016 - 2018 NHMRC Academy Assigner Grant Assessment National Health and Medical Research Council Australia
    2015 - 2015 NHMRC Grant Review Panel Member Grant Assessment National Health and Medical Research Council Australia
    2015 - ongoing Thesis Examiner Thesis Review Various
    2013 - 2013 NHMRC Grant Review Panel Member Grant Assessment National Health and Medical Research Council Australia
    2011 - 2011 NHMRC Grant Review Panel Member Grant Assessment National Health and Medical Research Council Australia
    2007 - 2018 External Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment National Health and Medical Research Council Australia
    2005 - ongoing Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment Medical Research Council United Kingdom
    2005 - ongoing Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research Netherlands
    2005 - ongoing Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment Auckland Medical Research Council New Zealand
    2005 - ongoing Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment Health Research Council of New Zealand New Zealand
    2005 - ongoing Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment Ireland Health Review Board Ireland
    2005 - ongoing Grant Reviewer Grant Assessment INSERM France
  • Position: Professorial Research Fellow (E)
  • Phone: 81284838
  • Email: leonie.heilbronn@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: West End Health Precinct
  • Building: SAHMRI - South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, floor Level 7
  • Org Unit: Medical Specialties

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External Profiles