Media Contacts

Julie Kiefer

Manager, Science Communications, University of Utah Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs
Phone: 801-587-1293

Mar 28, 2016 2:16 PM

University of Utah Diabetes and Metabolism Center Announces Seed Grant Recipients

The University of Utah’s Diabetes and Metabolism Center (DMC) has awarded grants to seven projects designed to advance research and practices to improve outcomes for those impacted by diabetes, metabolic abnormalities, and obesity. This year’s recipients come from nine departments at the University of Utah School of Medicine, College of Humanities, and College of Science, and draw from a wide variety of related disciplines.

“The grants were designed to catalyze new collaborations in the university community in order to spur innovation in areas that touch upon diabetes and metabolism,” says Jared Rutter, Ph.D., co-director of the Diabetes and Metabolism Center (DMC) at the University of Utah. “We’re confident that these efforts will lead to new discoveries, grants, and publications in these research areas.”

It’s estimated that 29 million Americans have diabetes, putting them at risk for a number of health conditions including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke. These related disorders contribute to the $176 billion strain that diabetes places on the medical system. And these problems are only being compounded by growth in the rates of Americans who are obese, a leading cause of diabetes.

“The research projects supported by the DMC impact a range of issues that must be addressed if we are going to move the needle on these health conditions,” says DMC co-director Simon Fisher, M.D., Ph.D.

Grant recipients will carry out a variety of projects ranging from creating a fast-acting insulin from venom, to investigations into the complications of weight gain on childbearing, to facilitating conversations about obesity.

Each project received up to $25,000, made possible in part by generous donations from the England Family, Jacobsen Construction, and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) “Of Love” tennis tournament fundraiser.

Project Titles & Awardees

Gene Identification for Type 2 Diabetes Using an Extended High-Risk Pedigree Resource
  • Lisa Canon-Albright , PhD (Internal Medicine); Simon Fisher, MD, PhD (Medicine, Biochemistry); Craig Teerlink, PhD (Internal Medicine)
New Strategies for Neuroprotection and Edema Mitigation in Diabetic Retinopathy
  • David Krizaj, PhD (Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences)
Non-Invasive Multinuclear MRS Assessment of Human Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Function
  • Gwenael Layec, PhD (Internal Medicine); Eun-Kee Jeong, PhD, (Radiology)
Weight Gain and Complications Associated with Childbearing in Utah: Data from the Utah Population Database from 1989-2015
  • Deepika Reddy, MD (Medicine); Vishnu Sundaresh, MD (Internal Medicine); Ken Smith, PhD (Human Development and Family Studies); Ware Branch, MD (Obstetrics & Gynecology); Kateryna Markova, MD (Endocrinology)
Venom-Based Design of Novel, Fast-Acting Insulin Analogs
  • Helena Safavi-Hemami, PhD (Biology)
Promoting Interpersonal Communication about Obesity: Connecting Message Framing and Social Network Analysis
  • Ye Sun, PhD (Communications)
Characterizing a Novel Mouse Model to Study Vascular Autophagy in Obesity and T2DM
  • John David Symons, PhD (Nutrition and Integrative Physiology)

diabetes obesity