Creating a World Without Diabetes

Contact Us

For more information about University of Utah Health's diabetes research, please contact:

Bridget Hughes
bridget.hughes@hsc.utah.edu
Phone: 801-585-9304

Driving Out Diabetes
Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation

Imagine a time when diabetes shifts from being today’s crisis to becoming yesterday’s memory.

Driving Out Diabetes, a Larry H. Miller Family Wellness Initiative, is bringing this vision closer to reality by investing in innovative research at the University of Utah. The goal is to discover and catalyze scientific breakthroughs that will lead to better prevention, treatments, and eventually cures for people with diabetes in Utah and beyond.

Research focuses on the following three key areas:

  1. Drug Discovery
  2. Uncovering Causes
  3. Diabetes Management and Prevention

Drug Discovery

Millions with diabetes rely on insulin injections to control blood sugar. But knowing how much and when to inject is an inexact science at best, putting diabetics at risk for serious complications.

Investigators at University of Utah Health are developing novel therapeutics to alleviate this problem. “Smart insulin” will take the guesswork out of dosing by automatically switching itself on when blood sugar levels are too high and shutting off when they are low.

A second tactic circumvents insulin and its associated problems altogether by searching for new classes of drugs that lower blood sugar in different ways.

Uncovering Causes

Not only does diabetes cluster in families, but so does diabetic kidney disease, a complication that occurs in one of four diabetic adults.

Researchers at University of Utah Health have at their fingertips the Utah Population Database, a unique asset that has proven invaluable for uncovering the genetics of inherited diseases. Scientists are drawing on this powerful resource to search for disease genes that make people prone to developing these conditions.

Understanding the genetics behind disease will allow scientists to develop new strategies for screening, prevention, and treatment.

 

Diabetes Management & Prevention

Andrea and her team

Knowing that lifestyle changes can slow and even stop diabetes, U of U Health researchers are focusing on getting the right disease management information to the right people when they need it.

They are transforming electronic health records into a tool for supporting diabetes self-management.

By making the records a repository for patient-specific plans, health care providers across the health system will be able to reinforce each patient’s goals.

Investigators are also determining how to tailor diabetes prevention programs to meet the needs of ethnically diverse and low-income individuals who are at risk for diabetes to ensure a broader segment of our community has access to life-changing information.

Training Next Gen Innovators

Training early career scientists in the use of cutting-edge techniques to tackle issues in diabetes will ensure that our children and grandchildren continue to reap the benefits of scientific discovery and innovation.

With support from the initiative, established mentors are guiding rising stars in projects to understand how a genetic mutation prevalent among Utahns contributes to diabetes and to identify and mitigate unique complications that arise when diabetes patients have cancer.

Funding & Seed Grants

Each year our program, in collaboration with the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center, awards seed grants to promising researchers.

Meet Co-Director Scott Summers, PhD

Scott Summers, PhD, and Jared Rutter, PhD, co-direct the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center.