Explore UAB

Tanya PierreIn a new series, the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center (UCDC), a leader in the field of diabetes research, will highlight its dynamic faculty and trainees.

The UCDC has members from across several schools and departments at UAB. Diabetes research capabilities are made stronger by the diverse research focuses and innovations that members bring to the table. To better understand these research capabilities and discoveries, we will spotlight UCDC researchers throughout the year.

This month, we are spotlighting Tanya Pierre, a third-year graduate student in Dr. Chad Hunter's lab.

Tell us a little bit about you and your role at the UCDC.

"My name is Tanya Pierre, and I’m a third year graduate student in Dr. Chad Hunter's lab. I’m from Hinesville, Georgia and went to undergrad at Agnes Scott College. I first came to UAB as a postbaccalaureate student to further develop my technical skillset and identify the areas of research I wanted to pursue in the future."

What first got you interested in diabetes research?

"I first became interested in diabetes research after I had the opportunity to work on a project about diabetic kidney disease the summer before my junior year of undergrad. I really enjoyed it and since then wanted to study the underlying mechanisms that ultimately led to the comorbidity I was focused on."

Tell us a little bit about your own research.

"My current project is working to understand how a transcriptional coregulator, Rnf20, drives and maintains pancreatic beta cell identity and function. I recently submitted a grant application to further delve into how Rnf20 may impact the beta-cell cycle, so fingers crossed!"

What does supporting the UCDC and its mission mean to you?

"It feels great being a part of the UCDC because I get to work alongside an amazing group of people committed to better understanding diabetes from an array of different vantage points. Everyone is super supportive and comfortable branching outside of their primary disciplines to offer advice and insight to trainees and scientific colleagues. Therefore, supporting the UCDC means cultivating a scientific community that facilitates the growth of both burgeoning and established scientists. Supporting the UCDC and its mission enables the multidisciplinary investigations of diabetes from bench to bedside required to improve future diabetes therapies and care."

Tell us about what you enjoy outside of the lab.

"I enjoy listening to music, walking with my dog Riley, and playing The Sims when I have time."