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National Institutes of Health awards IU 5-year grant to create new diabetes research center

IU School of Medicine • 7/27/15

INDIANAPOLIS — The National Institutes of Health has awarded the Indiana University School of Medicine a five-year, $4.5 million grant to create a new federally designated Indiana Diabetes Research Center, one of just 16 such centers in the country.

The grant, from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, will accelerate and expand diabetes and metabolic research programs under the direction of Raghu G. Mirmira, M.D., Ph.D., Eli Lilly and Company Professor of Pediatric Diabetes.

“This award expresses the confidence of the NIH and NIDDK that we have assembled a world-class program of diabetes research at IU. We will focus on research that impacts disease,” said Dr. Mirmira, who also is a professor of medicine and cellular and integrative physiology and a Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research scientist.

Robert V. Considine, Ph.D., professor of medicine and of cellular and integrative physiology, will be associate director of the center.

The diabetes research center will incorporate several research cores providing specialty research functions, including:

A Microscopy Core, headed by Kenneth W. Dunn, Ph.D., professor of medicine and scientific director of the Indiana Center for Biological Microscopy, which will provide microscopy imaging services
An Islet Core, headed by Carmella Evans-Molina, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine, that will provide services related to the research usage of islets, the pancreatic clusters of cells that produce insulin.
A Swine Core, headed by Michael Sturek, Ph.D., professor of cellular and integrative physiology, that will accelerate understanding of physiological principles of diabetes and metabolism by studying novel models in swine.
A Translation Core, headed by Kieren J. Mather, M.D., professor of medicine, focusing on translating basic laboratory science discoveries into a better understanding of disease in humans.

The diabetes research center will provide the foundation for the new IU Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases that will consolidate a variety of diabetes and metabolic diseases programs that include research, clinical care, community outreach and training into one collaborative unit directed by Dr. Mirmira. Currently there are more than 60 scientists at the IU School of Medicine, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, IU-Bloomington and Purdue University conducting related research, Dr. Mirmira said.

“We will grow our diabetes research activities, raise awareness of diabetes in both the research and lay communities, and develop cutting-edge therapies and diagnostics for diabetes,” he said.

The diabetes research center will also award four $45,000 pilot research grants annually to young researchers, a program that will be overseen by Jeffrey S. Elmendorf, Ph.D., associate professor of cellular and integrative physiology.

An enrichment program to provide educational programs, mentoring and similar activities, overseen by Nuria Morrall, Ph.D., associate professor of medical and molecular genetics, and Peter J. Roach, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, will start activities with a daylong symposium Aug. 7 with speakers from the diabetes center as well as from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in New York and Universite Libré de Bruxelles in Belgium. Information about registration and submission of posters and abstracts is available at http://idrc.indiana.edu/Enrichment/DiabetesDaySymposium.aspx.