Tackling research on diabetes and
obesity will be as varied as the
conditions are complex, Dr. Hsueh says.
“The complications of diabetes and
obesity impact every single organ in
the body from head to toe,” she says.
Those complications can lead to any
number of diseases and conditions,
she says, from Alzheimer’s, lung and
heart disease, to problems with liver
fat leading to liver failure, arthritis, gout,
and kidney disease.
The center is currently in the process
of expanding its efforts in clinical
and basic research in a range of
areas in diabetes, metabolism,
and obesity, including research on
immunometabolism as it relates to
adipose tissue changes with a high fat
diet and the effects on inflammatory-driven complications such as
atherosclerosis, fatty liver disease, and
cardiac and renal function. Other areas
might involve complex mechanisms
involving progression of obesity to
type 2 diabetes and epidemiologic risk
factors for type 2 diabetes, particularly
in minority populations.
However, Dr. Hsueh emphasizes that the
center is not relegated to those areas.
“The goal is to build on the existing
expertise so we can develop competitive
teams in specific areas,” she says.
Over the past several years, the DMRC
initiative has brought several expert
researchers on board, such as Kristin
Stanford, PhD; Joshua Joseph, MD;
David Bradley, MD; Kelly Wrighton, PhD;
Martha Belury, PhD, RD; and others
from colleges throughout Ohio State,
says Matthew Ringel, MD, Ralph W.
Kurtz Chair and professor of medicine;
director, Division of Endocrinology,
Diabetes, and Metabolism; and co-leader
of the Molecular Biology and Cancer
Genetics Program at The James.
DISCOVERIES GOING FORWARD
Dr. Hsueh notes that the initiative offers
opportunities for discovery in translational
research. “I’m excited that we’ll be able
to discover new mechanisms of diabetes
and metabolic disease that are treatment
targets in a translation-centered research
center,” she says.
Hsueh adds that the DMRC, built by her
predecessor, Kwame Osei, MD (Res),
“We are able to bring in top-of-the-
line researchers because they can
collaborate with our outstanding
clinicians and surgeons to collect blood
and tissue samples and then work with us
in characterizing our patients to develop
novel treatment strategies,” she says.
The center’s research teams will build
on existing strong collaborations
with medical center departments and
units. “There’s been a tremendous
integration of science including biology,
immunology, surgery, nutrition, food
sciences and others to be able to
achieve our goals,” Dr. Hsueh says.
This multidisciplinary approach is in
keeping with one of the initiative’s
objectives, Dr. Hsueh says, to develop
networks of top investigators throughout
the seven health sciences colleges and
other colleges at the university.
For more information, visit
DRMC research team, left to right: Joshua Joseph, MD; Kristin Stanford, PhD; Zobeida Cruz-Monserrate, PhD; Willa Hsueh, MD ’73; Brad Rovin, MD; Martha
Belury, PhD, RD; and Subha Raman, MD ’96.