Blum Toren headshotOne of the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center's mission pillars is the training of the next generation of diabetes professionals. In our long-term pursuit of improving the lives of those affected by diabetes, we train undergraduate, graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars as well as clinical fellows in diabetes research and management.

Recently, two Ph.D. candidates Samuel Blum and Eliana Toren successfully defended their dissertation research. Eliana Toren presented “The Requirement of Transcriptional LIM-Complex Co-Regulators for Pancreatic Endocrine Cell Development and Function” on October 25 to the public and to her committee members:
  • Dr. Chad Hunter (Mentor)
  • Dr. David Schneider (Chair)
  • Dr. Chenbei Chang
  • Dr. Hubert Tse
  • Dr. Ronadip Banerjee
Blum presented his research “MDA5-Dependent Responses Contribute to Autoimmune Diabetes” to the public and to his committee on November 9. His committee was:
  • Dr. Hubert Tse (Mentor)
  • Dr. Laurie Harrington (Chair)
  • Dr. Allan Zajac
  • Dr. Chad Petit
  • Dr. Ronadip Banerjee

Both Blum and Toren celebrated with colleagues and friends and are grateful for the support of the UCDC as they completed their Ph.D. programs in Graduate Biomedical Sciences. The UCDC supports students from varied backgrounds – Toren is in the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology theme while Blum is in the Immunology theme. Collaboration from scientists from all fields is a strength of our researchers and trainees.

"I am especially grateful to my mentor, Dr. Chad Hunter," said Toren during her defense. "He challenged me and provided a strong example of what it means to be an engaged and productive scientist. Chad’s mentorship extended past the lab – even when having car troubles, he would go out of his way to jump my car battery and make sure I was safe."

“I wish to express my gratitude towards my mentor Dr. Hubert Tse, his drive and passion for science have been exemplary throughout the years. He has molded a bright-minded scientist to be both precise and critical of the science performed and reviewed. I plan to excel in my future endeavors and make him proud as my Ph.D. mentor," said Blum.

Blum has accepted a position as a postdoctoral research fellow at Pfizer. Toren is currently an intern with the scientific publishing company Cell Press. She will briefly continue her postdoctoral research here at the UCDC and then plans to pursue a full-time position as a scientific editor at Cell Press. The UCDC wishes to congratulate both students who have dedicated their time, resources, and training to furthering the field of diabetes research.