Department of Medicine
Faculty in the Division of Endocrinology contribute to medical research in many areas that are described below. Both basic and clinical research efforts are supported, with an emphasis on projects with translational importance. In addition, many faculty members from the Departments of Medicine, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Physiology, Orthopedics, Neurology, Pathology, and Pediatrics, provide an interchange of ideas and projects between basic and clinical scientists. Major research interests include:
- Genetic control of autoimmune diabetes in animal models
- Lentivirus mediated gene delivery for transgenesis and gene silencing
- Development of ‘humanized’ mice (immunocompromised mice with a human immune system) for studies of type 1 diabetes and islet transplantation
- Prevention of human type 2 diabetes mellitus by behavioral and clinical interventions
- Development of novel technology for non-invasive glucose measurement
- Markers of thyroid cancer activity
- Enhancement of diabetes control in Latino populations using novel behavioral and nutritional interventions
- Transplantation-related osteoporosis
- Clinical trials for new agents in diabetes management
- Gene silencing as therapy for medical disorders and atherosclerosis
- Neuronal cell signaling
- Genetics of pheochromocytoma
- Mechanisms of circadian rhythmicity
- Clinical effects of growth hormone therapy in adults
- Molecular mechanisms in Huntington’s disease pathogenesis
- Hormonal effects on progression of neuronal myelination
- Molecular mechanisms of axonal growth and synaptogenesis
- Role of viruses in transplantation tolerance induction and the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes
- Role of ER stress pathways in diabetes pathogenesis and lymphocyte activation
- Role of pericentrin in beta cell function
- Molecular biology of islet cell development in zebrafish
- Immunopathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes in rat and mouse models of human juvenile diabetes
- Development of humanized mouse models for the study of autoimmune diabetes pathogenesis and islet cell transplantation
- Human islet transplantation using calcineurin-inhibitor free immunosuppression
- Clinical trials of pharmaceuticals for the prevention of type 1 diabetes prevention
An interdepartmental program in molecular medicine has been established, giving trainees the opportunity to learn and apply modern molecular biological techniques to basic and clinical problems. Core facilities include laboratories for providing amino acid analysis and sequences of proteins, peptide synthesis and oligonucleotide synthesis, steroid receptor assays, tissue morphology, tissue culture, hormone immunoassays, transgenic core, and production of monoclonal antibodies. These core facilities are supported by the NIH-funded Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center (DERC).
NIH Training Grant
The overall objective of the Endocrinology Training Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School for the past 30 years has to prepare qualified individuals for careers that significantly impact the Nation's research agenda” The Program’s specific goal is to train both clinical (M.D.) and basic (Ph.D.) scientists whose research and/or academic patient care careers will improve the care and outcome of endocrine diseases and diabetes mellitus. The majority of our trainees have entered competitive careers in academic research, government, and industry during the last three decades.
The Program offers classical endocrinology and diabetes research opportunities, but in addition seeks to extend the breadth of the training offered to encompass cutting edge concepts, technologies, and programs that are clinical/translational in nature. The Program provides a rich research experience for talented, well-trained, and motivated postdoctoral trainees. Four areas are emphasized: immunology of diabetes and islet transplantation, neuroendocrinology, cell signaling, and developmental study of bone and gonad. All areas are at the forefront of national priorities in endocrine research.
We support 3 M.D. and 3 Ph.D. trainees annually for 2-3 years each. All trainees are individually mentored throughout their fellowships. A formal mentoring committee monitors each trainee’s progress. M.D. trainees have access to graduate school coursework in molecular and cellular biology and Ph.D. trainees attend special seminars to enhance their knowledge of the translation of basic research to the clinic. Program faculty comprises 18 scientists, each of whom is an extramurally funded authority in one of the areas of emphasis. The Program offers a special research experience to select post-doctoral trainees, seeking to train investigators and academics who will achieve success in these important areas of medical and research need.