Founded in 1962, so still quite a young institution, The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) has already established itself in the ranks of the Nation's top medical research universities. Quoting the mission from the school's website, UMMS seeks to 'advance the health and well-being of the people of the Commonwealth and the world through pioneering education, research and health care delivery with [its] clinical partner UMass Memorial Health Care (UMMHC), the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts.' Consistently ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the leading medical schools in the nation for primary care education, it has now been established as one of the fastest-growing research institutions in the country, with federal and private research grants and contracts exceeding $300 million in fiscal year 2011.
Diabetes Center of Excellence: In 2008, reflecting the institution's many accomplishments in the diabetes field, UMMS and UMMMC leadership established the Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE) to advance diabetes care delivery, and to further promote basic, translational, and clinical research.
Dr. David M. Harlan, previously the NIDDK's Intramural Research Program's Diabetes Branch Chief was selected from that national search and in February, 2010 became the first Director of the UMMS DCOE. Now under the Co-Directorship of Drs. Harlan and Greiner, so as to foster both clinical and basic diabetes research, the DCOE serves as a nexus bringing together diabetes clinicians and investigators.
For clinical care efforts, the DCOE's home is the state-of-the-art 280,000 sq.ft "Ambulatory Care Center" (ACC) opened in August, 2010. The DCOE occupies approximately 30,000 sq.ft on the ACC 2nd floor where the Pediatric and the Adult Endocrine and Diabetes clinics are collocated. Within that space, we have a conference room for team meetings and group classes, 20 patient examination rooms, separate rooms for nutritional counseling and education, a retinal camera capable of transmitting retinal photos to our ophthalmology colleagues for formal reads, and other assets. Importantly, we are one floor above the Conquering Diseases Clinical Research Center (a component of UMass Center for Clinical & Translational Science), and we have recruited a senior diabetes clinical research physician (Dr. Michael Thompson) to lead our clinical and translational research efforts. We strive to provide 'cradle to grave, eyes to toes' care with all the services required for both pediatric and adult diabetes, an endocrinology clinical center, and space for outpatient diabetes clinical research. DCOE leaders (including clinically oriented members from Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Surgery, the Weight Center, and the Center for the Advancement of Primary Care) have developed a strategic plan, and meet quarterly to insure successful prosecution of that plan.
In April, 2013, most DCOE basic research investigators moved into The Albert Sherman Center, a world-class 500,000 sq.ft facility within which the DCOE team is assigned approximately 7,500 sq.ft. In addition to access to the Core Facilities at UMass, within our Center, we are equipped with Immunospot, microplate and microarray readers, two flow cytometers (an Accuri 4-color bench top cytometer and a Beckman Coulter Cytomics FC-500), spectrophotometers, a luminometer , a Nanodrop, two Eppendorf Realplex real-time PCR machine, thermocyclers, gel imagers, MACS cell separation system, cryogenic cell/tissue storage, a Biorep 12-chamber islet perifusion system, and several cell culture facilities including biosafety cabinets with microscopes dedicated for sterile retrieval of selected cells and for dissection. We are equipped with an environmentally controlled small rodent chronic intravenous infusion apparatus with blood glucose testing abilities. In addition to routine microscopy and microscopes for live cell imaging (Nikon TIU series), we have a microscope suite that includes inverted and upright Nikon Eclipse Ti-5 series microscopes for multiple fluorescent marker imaging. Microscopes are combined with NIS-Elements imaging software to support diverse image acquisition and analysis methods such as multi-dimensional time-lapse, multi-position acquisition, large image acquisition with stitching. Each scope is equipped with high-resolution black and white camera for fluorescent samples and additionally there is a high-resolution color camera for H&E samples on the upright scope.