Research

researchThe Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism performs important and cutting-edge basic science and clinical research. Scientists at all levels of training participate in research programs in the Division – laboratory technicians and undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral scientists.

Basic Science Research

The basic science research programs of the Division are located on the 7th and 8th floors of the Boshell Diabetes Research and Education Building and on the 12th floor of the Shelby Research Building.

Stuart Frank Laboratory
Dr. Frank is the Director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism and leads a research program to understand mechanisms of growth hormone action. In particular, his research program is interested in how changes in GH receptor (GHR) structure regulate cellular signal transduction. His research has great implications in understanding the role of growth hormone in diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cancer.

Anath Shalev Laboratory
Dr. Shalev is the Director of the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center. She heads a research program to understand mechanisms of dysfunction of pancreatic islet beta-cells, the cell type that produces insulin. Her research is focused on understanding the role of thioredoxin-interacting protein (TXNIP) and other proteins in the survival of beta cells to oxidative stress. Manipulation of TXNIP could serve as a therapy to prevent and treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Andrew Paterson Laboratory
Dr. Paterson’s research examines how post-translational modification by O-GlcNAc of important regulatory proteins regulates protein networks in cells. He has discovered that changes in nutritional states that can occur in cancer and metabolic diseases alters global cellular processes though O-GlcNAc modification of signaling proteins. Novel pharmacologic strategies controlling O-GlcNAc modification could translate into therapies targeting cancer cachexia and metabolic diseases such as diabetes.

Jeonga Kim Laboratory
Dr. Kim’s research team investigates the crosstalk between inflammation and insulin signaling. She is investigating how activation of Toll-like receptors by fatty acids and inflammatory processes occurring in type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome alters vascular endothelial cell function. This research has implications in understanding the mechanisms behind hypertension and atherosclerosis.

Gregory Clines Laboratory
Dr. Clines leads a research team aimed at understanding how diseases such as bone metastasis and cystic fibrosis alters bone homeostasis and the function of osteoblasts, the bone-forming cell. The discovery of mechanisms that are behind these diseases could translate to more effective therapies for patients with advanced breast and prostate cancer and cystic fibrosis patients with a high fracture risk.

Clinical Research

The Diabetes & Endocrine Clinical Research Unit (DECRU) performs important and cutting edge clinical research studies testing new treatments for diabetes, its complications, and related metabolic or hormonal disorders. These clinical studies or “trials” are sponsored through various mechanisms including the National Institutes of Health, private organizations, and the pharmaceutical industry.

The clinical research studies conducted by our DECRU take place in our Diabetes & Endocrine Clinic, and our new Multidisciplinary Comprehensive Diabetes Clinic (MCDC), both at The Kirklin Clinic (TKC) at UAB, and offer our patients and participants the opportunity to play a more active role in their own healthcare. Patients involved in our clinical trials frequently have the opportunity to access potential new treatments before they are widely available. These studies provide important information to advance medical care and are crucial to finding better preventive measures and treatments for diabetes, and other endocrine and metabolic disorders.

After a promising new treatment is developed in the laboratory and its safety and effectiveness are carefully tested in the pre-clinical setting, clinical investigators obtain Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval to conduct studies in patients. Participants receive high-quality care and related study medications throughout the trial at no cost. Participating in a clinical trial is an important personal decision. A list of studies open for enrollment is available on our website.