Dr. Garvey is Professor of Medicine in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He obtained his MD degree, cum laude, from St. Louis University in 1978, and completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington University, in 1981. He then was a clinical fellow in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He subsequently held faculty posts at the University of California, School of Medicine (Assistant Professor), Indiana University School of Medicine (Associate and full Professor), and from 1994 to 2003 was the Director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Medical Genetics at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Garvey moved to UAB in 2003 and was Chair of the Department of Nutrition Sciences from 2003 to 2018.

Dr. Garvey has achieved international recognition for his research in the metabolic, molecular, and genetic pathogenesis of insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, and obesity. His studies have involved the cellular and molecular biology of cell and animal models, metabolic investigations of human subjects on metabolic research wards, and the genetic basis of diseases in Gullah-speaking African Americans and other national cohorts of diabetes patients. The Garvey laboratory has made important observations regarding the pathogenesis of human insulin resistance and has been a principle contributor to our understanding of the role of the glucose transport system and glucose transporter proteins in human insulin resistance.  He has identified gene families that contribute to insulin resistance in human muscle insulin using cDNA microarray, e.g., NR4A orphan nuclear receptors and the tribbles gene family, and has elucidated the role of adiponectin in cardiometabolic disease and mitochondrial proteomics to better define mitochondrial defects that impair substrate oxidation.  He has contributed to the training of our next generation of clinicians, basic scientists, and physician scientists.  Since 1987, his laboratory has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK, NHLBI), the Department of Veterans Affairs, the AHA, JDFI, the ADA, and other agencies. He is an elected member of ASCI and AAP.  Dr. Garvey is founding PI of the UAB Diabetes Research Center (P30 DK079626) from 2008 to present and the PI of a program project funded by the American Heart Association entitled “Intergenerational Transmission of Obesity and Cardiometabolic Disease” from 2017-2020.

Dr. Garvey’s career has been distinguished by a second impactful sphere of activity.  He has developed an intense interest in our understanding of obesity as a disease, and in advancing medical models to improve the care of patients with obesity.  Dr. Garvey was the chief architect of the Complications-Centric Model for Care of the Overweight/Obese Patient.  Much of his work in this area has occurred as a member in the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE).  Garvey was a leading contributor and author in the AACE Position Statement designating Obesity as a disease; the AACE proposition voted by the AMA House of Delegates affirming Obesity as a disease in 2013; the obesity treatment algorithm in the AACE Comprehensive Diabetes Management Algorithms; and lead author on the evidence-based AACE obesity management guidelines; and co-author of the new medical diagnostic term for obesity – Adiposity-Based Chronic Disease.  This obesity treatment algorithm emphasizes the use of weight loss therapy to treat obesity-related complications as the primary goal of treatment, as opposed to reductions in BMI per se. Further, Dr. Garvey developed Cardiometabolic Disease Staging that allows clinicians to quantitatively assign risk for Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease mortality, when deciding upon the treatment modality and intensity of weight loss therapy for their patients, within the context of a complications-centric medical approach.  This work is widely applicable and relevant to policy-making regarding the prevention of diabetes.  Thus, Dr. Garvey is a national leader in the development of medical models for the management of obesity and diabetes prevention.


W. Timothy Garvey, MD
Director of the UAB DRC