Denise E. Wilfley, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry,
Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychology
Director, Weight Management &
Eating Disorders Research Lab
Dr. Wilfley is Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychology and the Director of the Weight Management and Eating Disorders Lab at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Over the past two decades, she has been awarded more than $25 million from the NIH in a programmatic line of research examining the causes, characterization, prevention, and treatment of obesity and eating disorders. She has extensive experience in developing efficacious interventions to treat and prevent obesity and excess weight gain among children and adults. Through her research, she has established the efficacy of family-based behavioral treatment for obesity, pioneering the use of a social facilitation approach to improve sustainability of weight loss outcomes for children and their families. In addition, her work involves the investigation of strategies to tailor treatments to unique characteristics of overweight individuals. For example, she has worked extensively with a subset of overweight adults who suffer from binge eating disorder. Given that binge eating disorder is linked to excess weight and poor prognostic outcomes, she has worked to establish its clinical significance, advocated for its inclusion in DSM-5, and developed specialty treatments to prevent excess weight gain and improve psychological outcomes in this population. She also has extensive experience as the lead investigator on numerous clinical trials, and much of this work has focused on identifying and intervening with groups at high risk for obesity and eating disorders, allowing for the honing of resources to most effectively prevent progression of negative health outcomes such as Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and metabolic syndromes. In addition to her research, Dr. Wilfley has an extensive history of serving in leadership roles in advocacy and research societies for obesity and eating disorders. She has long been an external advisor for obesity programs and centers across the country, such as Wellspring Healthy Living Academy, Minnesota Obesity Center, and University of Alabama-Birmingham’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center. Within The Obesity Society (TOS), the leading scientific society dedicated to studying obesity, she has been elected to several leadership positions. Currently, she is Clinical Care Councilor for TOS, and Chair of the Pediatric Obesity Section of TOS. She has also been a long-standing member of the Eating Disorders Research Society (EDRS) and is the newest President-elect of EDRS. She is also a Fellow of the Academy for Eating Disorders and a member of the National Eating Disorders Association Research Advisory Council.