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News from the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence

  • Thursday, March 28, 2024 Najihah Aziz Three Minute Thesis Winner

    Czech Lab PhD Student Najihah Aziz Wins Three Minute Thesis Competition

    Czech lab PhD student Najihah Aziz won first prize in a UMass Chan Medical School Three Minute Thesis competition. Her 180 second talk explained how brown fat could potentially be used to treat type 2 diabetes. 
  • Friday, March 01, 2024 Keri Walko-Henry, ATR, CCLS, LMHC

    Certified Child Life Specialists in Pediatric Diabetes Care

    A Certified Child Life Specialist supports diabetic children and their families working with the care team to provide age appropriate support and interventions at UMass Memorial Medical Center. 

  • Wednesday, January 10, 2024 Developing NAFLD Screening in the Clinic for People with Diabetes & Prediabetes

    Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Grant to Develop NAFLD Screening in the Diabetes Clinic

    Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity. It remains underdiagnosed and undertreated and many people living with T2D are unaware they have it.  A new project to create a screening tool and process in the UMass Memorial diabetes clinic will use clinically available data to determine patient risk of liver fibrosis.  

  • Friday, December 01, 2023 UMass Memorial Diabetic Health Outreach Clinic for Worcester's Underserved Community

    UMass Memorial Diabetic Health Outreach Clinic for Worcester's Underserved Community

    The 7th Diabetes Health Clinic for Worcester’s underserved community was held at Saint Francis Xavier Center in the Canal District. UMass DCOE providers and staff joined other volunteers from Vascular Surgery, Podiatry, Cardiology and Dermatology. All attendees received a foot exam, blood sugar, lipid & BMI testing, wound care and health resources.  They were also each given sneakers, socks and a hot meal. The first of these bi-annual multidisciplinary outreach clinics was on World Diabetes Day in 2020 and are now held every summer and in November during Diabetes Awareness Month.  

  • Monday, October 16, 2023 Generation and Molecular Characterization of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Pharyngeal Endoderm

    Generation and Molecular Characterization of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Pharyngeal Endoderm

    The foregut endoderm contributes to several organs including the thyroid, lungs, liver, and pancreas. Approaches to study it has been impeded by lack of tissue access and cellular models. A protocol to develop human pharyngeal endoderm from stem cells was published by the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence laboratories of René Maehr, PhD and Michael Brehm, PhD at UMass Chan Medical School. 

  • Friday, September 15, 2023 Nguyen Lab Finds a Distinct Class of Stem Cells  Develop from Yellow Bone Marrow in Humans

    Surgeon-Scientist Tammy Nguyen Found a Distinct Class of Stem Cells Develop from Yellow Bone Marrow in Humans

    The laboratory of vascular surgeon-scientist Tammy Nguyen, MD, PhD, developed a novel method in collaboration with Dr. Silvia Corvera’s lab to collect human stem cells directly from the bone marrow of people who underwent lower extremity amputations for non-healing wounds and grow them in her lab. Her research is examining why the immune cells of people living with diabetes behave differently than those without diabetes. In a newly published study, she identified that there are two different types of stem cell populations that are located within separate parts of bone marrow in the human leg. So far Dr. Nguyen has learned that stem cells derived from yellow/fatty marrow proliferate more and are more responsive. Currently she is asking additional questions in her lab to compare the marrow and immune cell development between people living with diabetes and those without diabetes.

  • Friday, June 16, 2023 Tree of Hippocrates in Kos

    Tree Connected to "Father of Medicine" Planted Between the UMass Chan Diabetes Clinic and Research Laboratories

    A branch from the “Tree of Hippocrates” from an Oriental plane tree on the island of Kos, Greece was planted on the UMass Chan Medical School campus.  According to legend, Hippocrates of Kos, who is considered to be the father of medicine, educated his students near the tree more than 2,500 years ago. Three Diabetes Center of Excellence researchers spoke at the planting ceremony. 

  • Wednesday, May 24, 2023 John Haley Metabolism Award

    John Haley Awarded Emerging Scientist in Metabolism Prize

    John Haley, a PhD candidate in the Guertin lab, was named the 2023 Emerging Scientist in Metabolism by Weill Cornell Medicine.  He was awarded the top prize in a national competition for senior graduate students who are conducting metabolism research. Haley plans to pursue post-doctoral training focusing on the intersection of metabolism and signaling.

  • Monday, November 06, 2023 Jennifer Cuddy Shrewsbury High School

    Shrewsbury High School Teacher Completes American Association of Immunologists Research Program at UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence

    Shrewsbury High School Chemistry teacher Jennifer Cuddy spent a second summer in the Diabetes Center of Excellence research laboratories thanks to an American Association of Immunologists High School Teachers Program in Immunology Award.  She participated in studies investigating the effects of human immune cells on stem cell-derived pancreatic islets. The program provided Ms. Cuddy with new skills that she can incorporate into her high school classroom.  

  • Friday, April 07, 2023 Diabetes Youth Transition Clinic

    Launching a Pilot Program For Young People Transitioning to Adult Diabetes Care

    A pilot Young Adult & Youth Transition Clinic for young people struggling with diabetes management is being funded by The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation.  The program is designed to help ease the progression from pediatric care to the adult care clinic.  It will be made available to anyone in the community between the ages of 18-24 living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

  • Monday, March 27, 2023 Sam Redick Type 1 Diabetes Research UMass Chan Medical School

    Developing a Stem Cell Islet Core at the UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence to grow stem cell-derived pancreatic islets

    Sam Redick, PhD, led the effort to develop and grow stem cell-derived islets at the UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence for various collaborative research projects, including genetically engineering them to become undetected by the immune system. Transplanting stem cell-derived into a person living with type 1 diabetes, without them requiring toxic immunosuppressive therapy, would be a life-changing curative therapy.  That is the core focus of the JDRF Center of Excellence in New England led by UMass DCOE co-director Dr. David Harlan. Learn more about Sam and her T1D research

  • Thursday, January 12, 2023 Humanized Mouse Immunotherapty Research Models

    New “Humanized” Mouse Model Supports Human Immune System Development and the Study of Human-Specific Innate Immunity in the Brehm & Greiner Labs

    This study conducted in the Brehm & Greiner labs and published in the The Journal of Leukocyte Biology describes the creation of a novel “humanized” mouse model that enables specific targeting of the human toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathway in mice. These molecules help the immune system recognize infections and other harmful threats. Their new model allows scientists to test therapies in a human specific manner and show treatment efficacy against a human tumor.

  • Thursday, January 05, 2023 UMass Chan Medical School Student Emilee Herringshaw

    UMass Chan Medical School Student Conducting Pilot Study to Analyze Skin Reactions to CGM at UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence

    Emilee Herringshaw is a UMass Chan Medical School student living with type 1 diabetes who is working towards a career in dermatology. She was awarded a clinical research grant by The American Contact Dermatitis Society to create a pilot study designed to evaluate skin reactions to continuous glucose monitors. Patients at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence are invited to participate and the data will be analyzed looking at all available devices, various scenarios & interventions.

  • Tuesday, January 03, 2023 Dr. Juan Ding provides diabetes eye exams at UMass Memorial

    Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Grant Awarded to Test Efficacy and Impact of an AI Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program in Primary Care

    The fourth annual Herman G. Berkman Diabetes Clinical Innovation Fund grant was awarded to optometrist Juan Ding, OD, PhD and co-investigator James Ledwith, MD, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Their project titled "Efficacy and Impact of Implementing an AI Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Program in Family Medicine Clinics" offers a path to identify eye disease and improve comprehensive care for people living with diabetes.

  • Tuesday, December 27, 2022 Qingbo Chen, PhD UMass Chan Medical School

    Secreted Protein in Brown Fat Shown to Control Thermogenesis and Blood Glucose

    Brown adipose tissue (fat tissue) is known to burn fat and improve metabolism while and white adipose tissue stores fat. Scientists are exploring cellular and molecular mechanisms that control brown fat, and how to convert white adipocytes into brown-like adipocytes. A newly published study in Nature Communications led by Qingbo Chen, PhD, describes a brown fat-enriched adipokine they call Adissp (Adipose-secreted signaling protein) that is a key regulator for white adipose tissue thermogenesis and glucose homeostasis.

  • Friday, December 02, 2022 Flow Cytometer Donation

    Generous Donation from the Arthur M. and Martha R. Pappas Foundation Advances UMass Diabetes Research Capabilities

    The Diabetes Center of Excellence at UMass Chan Medical School received a $250,000 donation from the Arthur M. and Martha R. Pappas Foundation.  The funds were used to purchase and maintain a state-of-the-art flow cytometer to characterize cells and their functional and signaling properties.  It provides quantitative data on immune cell and pancreatic islet cell phenotypes to facilitate the analysis of samples and greatly expand our research team’s capacity to rapidly screen experimental samples. 

  • Monday, November 21, 2022 Jennifer Wang Lab

    Wang Lab Study Finds Early Islet Transcriptional Signature is Associated with Local Inflammation in Type 1 Diabetes

    Viral infections continue to be linked to the development of type 1 diabetes, yet human immune responses to viruses and how that leads to the destruction of insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas is still unknown.  The laboratory of Jennifer Wang, MD, investigated inflammatory pathways because viruses can trigger inflammation that damages the pancreas.  The research focused on early events leading to autoimmune responses to viruses with the ultimate goal of therapeutics that could target inflammation before T1D manifests.

  • Tuesday, November 15, 2022 Diabetic Homeless Clinic

    UMass Memorial Diabetic Health Clinic for Worcester's Underserved

    The 6th diabetic community health clinic was a multidisciplinary outreach event with providers from the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence, vascular surgery, podiatry & more. They volunteered at the Athol Area YMCA to provide free exams and point of care testing. PHOTOS

  • Thursday, October 19, 2023 Nuzzy Memorial Golf Tournament

    Joseph Nozzolillo Memorial Foundation Surpassed $111,000 in Fundraising for UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence Research

    The Joseph “Nuzzy” Nozzolillo Memorial Foundation raised $26K in 2023, adding to their ongoing support of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence.  Their six-year fundraising total has surpassed $111,000. The 6th annual Nuzzy Memorial Golf Tournament and 4th “Rockin’ for Nuzzy” fundraiser concert were organized by Joe's family and friends who are grateful for the care he received and optimistic about the diabetes research taking place at the UMass Chan DCOE.  PHOTOS & VIDEO

  • Monday, October 10, 2022 Vitilago Research

    Diabetes Center of Excellence Immunologist Sally Kent Investigating Autoreactive T Cell Function in Vitiligo

    A five-year grant from the NIH/NIAMS was awarded to John Harris, MD, PhD, Founding Director of the Vitiligo Clinic & Research Center, and Autoimmune Therapeutics Institute at UMass Chan Medical School. The project is entitled Dissecting Functional Autoimmunity through High-Resolution Multiomics in a Vitiligo Center of Research Translation. Dr. Kent is leading Project 1, Autoreactive T Cell Function in Vitiligo.

  • Monday, September 26, 2022 Adipocyte Signaling Pathway Czech Lab Review

    The Czech Lab Reviews the Adipocyte Supersystem of Insulin and cAMP Signaling in Trends in Cell Biology

    The Czech lab examined the metabolic regulation of adipocytes by insulin receptor signaling and the cAMP signaling pathway in a review article published in the journal Trends in Cell Biology. The two major signaling networks regulate virtually every organ and/or cell type in the human body.  While the two signaling pathways intercommunicate regularly in fat cells, published data has shown they typically counteract one other in most cellular processes. Their opposite roles are indispensable for adipocyte physiology and metabolic homeostasis. Together they constitute what the Czech lab calls “the adipocyte supersystem.” However, their review highlights a set of genes that are known to promote metabolic health and were activated by both insulin and catecholamines in the same way.  

  • Friday, September 23, 2022 Extracellular Vesicles Diabetes Research Kent Lab

    The Kent Lab is Investigating the Role of Extracellular Vesicles in the Development of Type 1 Diabetes

    Sally Kent, PhD was awarded a Multi-Principal Investigator grant from the NIH/NIDDK entitled Extracellular Vesicle-mediated islet immune cross talk in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis. The project will examine the function of extracellular vesicles originating directly from pancreatic islets in people with  type 1 diabetes. The goal of these studies is to understand their functional role in the autoimmune process and to provide biomarkers for disease development.

  • Wednesday, September 21, 2022 Mark O’Connor UMass Memorial PACE Award

    Endocrinologist Mark O'Connor Awarded Academic Collaboration Prize to Study the Use of Smart Watch Technology to Prevent Dangerous Hypoglycemia

    Dr. O’Connor was co-recipient of the UMass Memorial Medical Group’s Prize for Academic Collaboration and Excellence (PACE) Award. It supports physicians in cutting-edge research and encourages interdepartmental collaboration. His project is studying the benefits of using widely available wearable devices such as smart watches, to protect people who are living with diabetes, from dangerous hypoglycemia. A pilot study of people with type 1 diabetes who are at risk for hypoglycemia will create an optimized algorithm for detecting hypoglycemia based on smart watch data.

  • Tuesday, September 20, 2022 Investigating CAR T Cell Therapy

    Investigating CAR T Cell Therapy Targeting Type 1 Diabetes Specific Cells in the Kent and Brehm Labs

    The study aims to generate CAR T cell variants that would target and eliminate islet specific autoreactive T cells in people with type 1 diabetes. A grant from the NIH/NIDDK with Multi-Principal Investigators was awarded to investigate CAR T-cell technology as a potential T1D therapy. 

  • Thursday, September 08, 2022 Natural Killer Cells

    Enhanced Development of Functional Human Natural Killer Cells for Pre-Clinical Study in the Greiner and Brehm Labs

    In a newly published study in the FASEB journal, the laboratories of Michael Brehm, PhD and Dale Greiner, PhD describe a novel humanized mouse model developed with improved Natural Killer (NK) cell acceptance and functionality.  Their data explains the potential for this in vivo model to study human NK cell biology and to test new human-specific immune-therapies that target NK cells. 

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