Board Certification and Academic Information
||Internal Medicine - Professor
Biochemistry - Adjunct Professor
Pediatrics - Adjunct Professor
Physical Therapy - Adjunct Professor
||Endocrinology and Metabolism
||American Board of Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine)
American Board of Internal Medicine (Sub: Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism)
Academic Office Locations
|Academic Office Phone Number
||Academic Office Address
||Eccles Health Sciences Library
Center for Clinical and Translational Science
10 North 1900 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
40 N 2030 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
I received MD and PhD degrees from the Rockefeller University/ Cornell Medical School Biomedical Sciences Program in 1979, with thesis work performed in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Gerald Edelman. Training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology were completed at Stanford and the University of California at San Diego. I came to the University of Utah after holding faculty positions at the Universities of California San Diego, Alabama at Birmingham and Mississippi. I am currently Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where I hold the Bettilyon Chair in Diabetes Research. After serving as the Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism for eight years, in 2008 I assumed the positions of Associate Vice President for Clinical Research and the Directorship of the NIH-funded (CTSA) Center for Clinical and Translational Science. I participate in the national consortium as a co-chair for the Clinical Service Center Key Function Committee, co-chair of Strategic Goal Committee 5, and member of the CTSA Consortium Executive Committee. I have also served as Associate Editor of the journal Endocrinology and Chair of grant review panels of the NIH, VA, and American Diabetes Association.
My current research program, funded by the NIH and VA, is aimed at further understanding the pathogenesis of diabetes, obesity, and its complications, using both human studies and animal or cell culture models. Our current work in this area includes three projects: (1) How glucose regulates transcription and protein function through the hexosamine pathway of glucose metabolism; (2) How excess iron, a risk factor for diabetes, regulated metabolism, and; (3) How hypoxia regulates metabolism.
We have previously shown that artificially increasing hexosamine flux in the tissues responsible for fuel homeostasis recapitulates many of the central phenotypic characteristics of type 2 diabetes. We have shown that the basis for these effects is the modification of cytosolic and nuclear proteins by O-linked GlcNAc. We are currently engaged in work to more fully characterize the biochemical basis for these changes, concentrating on the transcriptional regulation, activation and subcellular partitioning of key enzymes of fuel homeostasis such as glycogen synthase and AMP-dependent kinase.
Our laboratory also studies the mechanisms by which high levels of iron, such as are seen in some hereditary conditions (e.g. hemochromatosis) and also with simple dietary iron overload, are associated with diabetes. To this end, we have discovered novel mechanisms by which iron regulates fat metabolism and impairs mitochondrial function. Current projects focus on the regulation by iron of adipokines, the circadian rhythm, and cellular signaling pathways involved in metabolic regulation.
Finally, because iron can exert some of its effects through the hypoxia signaling pathway, we are also studying the effects of hypoxia on metabolism in animal models and human populations that are adapted to high altitude.