Mary Leonard

Mary B. Leonard, MD, Arline and Pete Harman Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics; Adalyn Jay Physician-in-Chief, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital; Director, Stanford Child Health Research Institute; Associate Dean of Maternal Child Health


Research Description: Dr. Leonard leads a multidisciplinary research program is primarily focused on the impact of chronic diseases on bone metabolism and nutrition, with an emphasis on changes in body composition and skeletal density and structure during growth and aging, and in the context of inflammatory diseases, chronic kidney disease, glucocorticoid therapy, and bone marrow transplantation. Her lab identified unique windows of vulnerability for impaired bone accrual during early puberty, with a consequent detrimental impact on peak bone mass and likely implications for life long skeletal health and fracture risk. For example, they demonstrated that type 1 diabetes was associated with markedly increased fracture rates, evident in early adolescence and pronounced throughout adulthood. She and her students are currently using high resolution peripheral quantitative CT to characterize bone structure and strength in adolescents with type 1 diabetes, compared with healthy controls. Dr. Leonard was the Founding Director of the Stanford Assessment of Muscle and Bone across the Ages (SAMBA) Center in 2014. This Center permits state-of-the-art studies of bone metabolism and body composition in diabetes. For example, the whole body DXA scans in Dr. Maahs’ newly NIH funded DP3 study (Accelerating Solutions to Optimize Glycemic Control and Weight Management in Young Adults with Type 1 diabetes) will be performed in the Center, as will the whole body DXA scans and measures of muscle strength in Dr. Palaniappan’s STRONG-D exercise RCT in normal weight diabetics.  In 2016, Dr. Leonard was appointed Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and Director of the Child Health Research Institute.  In these roles, she will continue to dedicate effort to support diabetes research at Stanford. Dr. Leonard also serves on the Stanford DRC executive committee.

Selected relevant publications or presentations (Stanford DRC Members in BOLD):

  1. Mostoufi-Moab S, Magland J, Isaacoff W, Sun W, Rajapakse CS, Zemel BS, Wehrli F, Shekdar K, Baker J, Long J, Leonard MB. Adverse Fat Depots and Marrow Adiposity are Associated with Skeletal Deficits and Insulin Resistance in Long-Term Survivors of Pediatric Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation. J Bone Miner Res 30: 1657-66, 2015. Role: Co-Leader, Spectrum Child Health
  2. Weber DR, Haynes K, Leonard MB, Willi SM, Denburg MR. Type 1 diabetes is associated with an increased risk of fracture across the life span: a population-based cohort study using The Health Improvement Network (THIN). Diabetes Care 38:1913-20, 2015. Role: Co-Leader, Spectrum Child Health
  3. Baker JF, Von Feldt JM, Mostoufi-Moab S, Kim W, Taratuta E, Leonard MB. Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 and Adiponectin and Associations with Muscle Deficits, Disease Characteristics, and Treatments in Rheumatoid Arthritis. J Rheumatol 42:2038-45, 2015. Role: Co-Leader, Spectrum Child Health
  4. Baker JF, Davis M, Alexander R, Zemel BS, Mostoufi-Moab S, Shults J, Sulik M, Schiferl DJ, Leonard MB. Associations between body composition and bone density and structure in men and women across the adult age spectrum. Bone 53:34-41, 2013.