Type 2 Diabetes Laboratory Research

The Diabetes Lab focuses on studies relating to insulin resistance in Diabetic patients.


The primary cause of Type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance, the loss of the ability to respond normally to insulin, followed by the gradual destruction of the insulin secreting beta cells. Predisposition to diabetes is inherited and it is much more likely to occur in those who are obese but there is much more to be learned about this disease.

What are the genetic foundations of insulin resistance? Why is glucose so toxic to beta cells and what are the mechanisms involved in beta cell destruction? What are the limitations of the beta cell regenerative capacity? Why does obesity cause insulin resistance?


A better understanding of these factors and how they interact over time to cause beta cell failure and permanent diabetes will lead to novel prevention strategies and new treatments. Present treatments for type 2 diabetes remain unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons, and as the incidence of this disease continues to rise, concomitant with the prevalence of obesity, improved therapy is greatly needed.


Group Members

David Altshuler, MD                          The Genetics of Diabetes

Melissa Thomas, MD                         Promoting beta cell growth and regneration in vivo and in cell culture

Joseph Avruch, MD                           How do "diabetes" genes act to cause insulin resistance and cell failures

Tod Gulick, MD                                How does expanded adipose tissue cause insulin resistance?

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