Primary Faculty


W. Timothy Garvey, M.D.
Professor; Director, Diabetes Research Center
1675 University Blvd.
Webb 616B

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Voice: 205-996-2290
Fax: 205-975-4065

Miscellaneous Information

Dr. Garvey is Butterworth Professor of Medicine in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and is director of the NIH-funded UAB Diabetes Research Center. He obtained his MD degree, cum laude, from St. Louis University in 1978, and completed residency training in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington University, in 1981. He subsequently was a clinical fellow in Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He subsequently held faculty posts at the University of California, School of Medicine (Assistant Professor), Indiana University School of Medicine (Associate and full Professor), and from 1994 to 2003 was the Director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Medical Genetics at the Medical University of South Carolina. Dr. Garvey has achieved international recognition for his research in the metabolic, molecular, and genetic pathogenesis of insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, and obesity. His studies have involved the cellular and molecular biology of cell and animal models, metabolic investigations of human subjects on metabolic research wards, and the genetic basis of diseases in Gullah-speaking African Americans and other cohorts of diabetes patients. He has brought basic technology directly to the study of human patients, and the combined approach of human physiology, genetics, and basic cell and molecular biology has provided the laboratory with a flexible capability for hypothesis testing relevant to human disease. By studying molecular parameters and differential gene expression in muscle and fat tissue from metabolically characterized individuals, the Garvey laboratory has made important observations regarding the pathogenesis of human insulin resistance. He has been a principle contributor to our understanding of the role of the glucose transport system and glucose transporter proteins in human insulin resistance, and the role of adiponectin in the metabolic syndrome. He has identified gene families that contribute to insulin resistance in human muscle insulin using cDNA microarray, e.g., NR4A orphan nuclear receptors and the tribbles gene family, and is using mitochondrial proteomics to better define mitochondrial defects that impair substrate oxidation. Dr. Garvey has directed an independent laboratory since 1987 supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK, NHLBI), the Department of Veterans Affairs, the AHA, JDFI, the ADA, and other agencies. Dr. Garvey also has a track record of community based research and outreach in the context of two initiatives, Project Sugar (a genetics study among Gullah-speaking African Americans) and MUSC/HBCU Partners in Wellness (a program in community health at 6 historically black colleges and universities in SC intended to challenge minority students towards careers in the health professions). He has provided service as a member of national research review committees for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Diabetes Association, the VA Merit Review Program, and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Garvey currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism and Diabetes. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the Endocrine Society, and the American Diabetes Association.

Butterworth Professor of Medicine
Staff Physician, Birmingham VA Medical Center
Attending Physician, UAB Hospitals
Associate Director, Nutrition and Obesity Research Center
Investigator, GRECC and the UAB Center for Aging
Graduate School Faculty

Research Interests
The Garvey laboratory is interested in the molecular, metabolic, and genetic basis of type 2 diabetes mellitus, insulin resistance, and obesity. Studies involve cellular and molecular biology of cell and animal models, metabolic investigations of human subjects on a clinical research ward, and genetic epidemiology. The combined approach of human physiology, genetics, and basic cell and molecular biology provides the laboratory with a flexible and powerful capability for hypothesis testing relevant to human disease. Principal research activities include:

Role of GLUT 4 Glucose Transporters and the Glucose Transport System in Insulin Resistance. This work utilizes cultured cell, animal models, and humans (in vivo metabolic studies and ex vivo studies of tissues) as model systems, and tests hypotheses relating to abnormalities in GLUT gene expression and cellular trafficking of GLUT4-containing vesicles.

Molecular Mechanisms of Human Insulin Resistance. The laboratory systematically identifies differential gene expression in muscle and fat from insulin sensitive, insulin resistant, and Type 2 Diabetic patients using cDNA microarrays and proteomics. The contribution of selected novel genes/proteins in cell biology and metabolism is investigated using a variety of methodologies including gene hyperexpression/knock-out in cultured cells and mice.

Molecular and Metabolic Defects Impairing Lipid Oxidation in Insulin Resistance. These studies feature application of NMR and metabolomic approaches, with a special focus on mitochondrial function, to explain defective lipid oxidation and lipid accumulation in skeletal muscle.

Interaction between Environment and Genes in the Pathogenesis of Diabetes and Obesity and Related Metabolic Subphenotypes. These studies examine the contribution of specific gene polymorphisms (for example UCP3) to clinical and metabolic traits in relationship to environmental parameters such as diet and physical activity. Study groups include Gullah speaking African Americans and families with adolescent sib pairs discordant for obesity and/or Type 2 Diabetes.

Pathophysiology and Clinical Diagnoses of the Insulin Resistance (or Metabolic) Syndrome. These studies include the impact of race and racial genetic admixture of the Insulin Resistance Syndrome trait cluster.

Markers and Mechanisms of Vascular Disease in Diabetes. These studies involve secreted factors from adipocytes and gene polymorphisms, and collaborations with the DCCT/EDIC Study Group (i.e., the national cohort of DCCT/EDIC patients with Type 1 Diabetes) and the VA Diabetes Study (i.e., a VA cooperative study in Type 2 Diabetic patients).

Recent Publications (via PubMed)
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