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The UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center (UCDC) began as an idea to further the realm of diabetes knowledge and develop novel approaches for curative treatment. A parent, a sister, and a friend of those with diabetes came together to bring the dream into reality and create a place that would be an epicenter of diabetes research. Faced with the rising costs of insulin and daunting symptoms of the disease, those affected by diabetes looked to the center for hope.

Thanks to the generous support of donors, the UCDC was launched and in the fall of 2010, Anath Shalev, M.D.—world-renowned diabetes researcher —was recruited as Director. It was the beginning of a great partnerships with the community in Birmingham, across the state of Alabama, and throughout the nation and allowed Shalev to build a world-class center.

2017 Dance the Night Away- Comprehensive Diabetes CenterDance the Night Away Fundraising Initiative Benefiting the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center

Since its beginnings, the UCDC garnered the support of private and corporate donors, like the Medical Properties Trust, whose continued support is evidence of their confidence in the center’s capabilities. Using these paramount funds, the UCDC has been able to build its membership to over 200 active faculty members, in addition to trainees, who are committed to diabetes research. Their efforts have been powered by generous donations as well as hard earned scientific funding obtained through highly competitive, peer-reviewed grants from the National Institutes of Health and other national agencies.

The UCDC has repurposed approved drugs, like verapamil and discovered treatments that improve in glucose control and reduce insulin requirements and also discovered molecular-level clues that provide the basis for novel and improved diabetes treatment approaches. Plus, center researchers continue to publish papers in high-impact journals like Nature Medicine, Cell Metabolism, and Diabetes garnering national and international recognition.

The center has served as a hive for the best and brightest in diabetes research. The UCDC has hosted two large, national islet meetings (MIC) at UAB with presenters and attendees from across the U.S. Of its own membership, the center has seen several more recently recruited researchers named as UAB Pittman Scholars and honored with various national and international awards for their research.

diabetes givingL to R: Emmett McLean, David Silverstein, Sarah Silverstein and Edward Aldag Jr. 

The UCDC is committed to recruiting and retaining top talent in the field of diabetes research. The future of the center is in its basic, translational and clinical researchers who continue to discover new molecular targets, novel diagnostic tools and oral therapies, and pioneer different aspects of precision diabetes related to the diverse community UAB serves that promise to lead to improvements in inpatient glycemic control and outpatient care.

Through past initiatives and future directions, the center has garnered national and international respect as a leader in the field of diabetes. But, its singular mission to improve the lives of those affected by diabetes has not changed.

“Our goal is to make life better for people with diabetes. Diabetes can lead to devastating complications and dramatically affect quality of life, forcing patients to think about it every day of their lives. We will think about it every day, too, until we have found a curative treatment for diabetes.”
—Anath Shalev, M.D., Director, UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center