Schur Laboratory

Dedicated to understanding brain regulation of appetite and obesity pathogenesis in humans
In the Schur research laboratory, study participants view images of food, such as those above, while undergoing an MRI scan to study the perception of appetite.

Dr. Schur’s research aims to understand how the brain regulates appetite. In humans, social, psychological, physiologic, and other factors influence appetite and food intake. We perform studies using both functional and structural neuroimaging techniques to study the brain. We investigate how genetics, diet, and disease (obesity and diabetes) influence appetite regulation in the brain and if obesity treatment can affect this process. Our current functional MRI studies evaluate the influence of genetics, body weight and behavioral weight loss on the brain’s response to images of high- and low-calorie food to reach a better understanding of how the brain links these factors to food intake and obesity risk. Our current structural MRI studies evaluate hypothalamic inflammation and injury—or gliosis—in both adults and children. Gliosis, a form of scarring, results from high-fat feeding in rodents. In humans, our MRI studies have shown signs of gliosis in obese and insulin-resistant individuals, and we are actively investigating how these changes influence the risk of obesity and diabetes.

Members of the Schur Laboratory

Ellen Schur, MD, MS
Ellen Schur, MD, MS

Associate Professor of Medicine
Clinical Research Director, UW Medicine Diabetes Institute

Dr. Ellen Schur is the Principal Investigator of the Lab. She earned her medical degree from Stanford University, completed residency at UW in Internal Medicine and completed a master’s degree in Epidemiology from UW. Dr. Schur practiced primary care at Harborview Medical Center for 13 years. Her patient care is now focused on helping patients manage their weight and any associated health problems and is located at the UW Medicine Weight Loss Management Clinic. Dr. Schur has led interdisciplinary studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and American Diabetes Association, among others. She is dedicated to mentoring and Chairs the Department of Medicine’s Mentorship committee.

Susan Melhorn, PhD
Susan Melhorn, PhD

Research Scientist 4

Susan earned her PhD in neuroscience at the University of Cincinnati and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at UW. Her graduate and post-graduate training utilized animal models to study ingestive behavior, obesity, and chronic social and physiological stress. Susan joined the Schur team in 2011 and is the lab and project manager. She is the team’s primary data and neuroimaging analyst, and serves as a resource to team members, collaborators and other investigators in their daily research and scientific needs.

Suchi Chandrasekaran, MD, MSCE
Suchi Chandrasekaran, MD, MSCE

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Suchi earned her medical degree from Northwestern University, completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University and fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Suchi began working with the Schur team in 2017 to investigate contributors to adverse pregnancy outcomes. She is a UW Women’s Reproductive Health Research fellow and was awarded a UW Diabetes Research Center Pilot and Feasibility Award and has 2 ongoing studies examining the role of hypothalamic inflammation and visceral adiposity in the development of gestational diabetes and hypertensive diseases of pregnancy.

Jennifer Rosenbaum, MD, MEd
Jennifer Rosenbaum, MD, MEd

Endocrinology Fellow

Jennifer earned her medical degree from the University of California-San Francisco, completed residency at Providence Portland Medical Center in Internal Medicine and is currently completing an Endocrinology Fellowship at UW. Jennifer joined the Schur team in 2017 and works on a research project investigating brain inflammation and glucose regulation, while also developing tools and researching the use of technology for weight loss.

Leticia Sewaybricker, MD, PhD
Leticia Sewaybricker, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Leticia earned her medical degree, completed residency in Pediatrics and fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Campinas. She first joined the Schur team in 2015 to conduct part of her PhD research. After completing her PhD at the University of Campinas, Leticia received a post-doctoral scholarship from the São Paulo Research Foundation and returned to the team in 2018 to continue work related to hypothalamic imaging and other neuroimaging modalities. In 2019, Leticia will continue work with the Schur team as a NIH-funded post-doctoral fellow working on a research project examining the relationship between obesity-related structural brain changes and the central regulation of appetite and weight gain in children.

Mary Webb
Mary Webb

Research Coordinator

Mary manages the team’s IRB needs and leads study recruitment efforts for our ongoing studies.

Roz De Leon
Roz De Leon

Research Coordinator

Roz is the lead coordinator responsible for executing study visits, recruitment and retention.

Madelaine Humphreys
Madelaine Humphreys

Research Study Assistant

Madelaine runs study visits for Dr. Chandrasekaran and Dr. Schur's current projects, and works in conjunction with other members of the team to recruit, enroll, and execute study visits.


Contact Us

UW Medicine Diabetes Institute
750 Republican Street, Box 358062
Seattle, WA 98109

Ellen Schur: (206) 543-8433
Laboratory: (206) 616-3984
Fax: (206) 543-3567

To inquire about Postdoctoral and Graduate Student Openings click on: ellschur@uw.edu