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News from the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence

  • Monday, November 21, 2022

    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.

  • 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. 

  • Friday, November 18, 2022 Tzield

    New Medication Approved by the FDA to Delay Type 1 Diabetes Onset

    Teplizumab (Tzield) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to delay the onset of type 1 diabetes when identified in the pre-symptomatic stage. A statement was released by the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence regarding the new medication.

  • Tuesday, November 29, 2022 Nuzzy Memorial Foundation Donation 2022

    Joseph Nozzolillo Memorial Foundation Surpassed $85,000 in Fundraising for UMass Chan Diabetes Center of Excellence Research

    The Joseph “Nuzzy” Nozzolillo Memorial Foundation added a $25K donation in 2022 to their ongoing support of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence, raising their five-year fundraising total to $85,560. The 5th annual Nuzzy Memorial Golf Tournament and third “Rockin’ for Nuzzy” fundraiser concert were held 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. 

  • Thursday, August 25, 2022 Tammy Nguyen Type 2 Diabetes Wound Healing Research

    Tammy Nguyen Receives NIDDK K08 Career Development Award to Investigate and Improve Non-Healing Wounds in People with Type 2 Diabetes

    Vascular surgeon-scientist Tammy Nguyen, MD, PhD, is the recipient of a K08 Clinical Investigator Award from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to advance her independent clinical research. Dr. Nguyen wants to understand why people with diabetes have a difficult time with wound healing, particularly foot ulcers. She’s studying the effect of type 2 diabetes on the development of the immune system, with the goal of designing targeted therapies to combat poor wound healing. As the Medical Director of the Lower Extremity Wound Clinic at UMass Memorial Health, she continues to perform surgeries on people with diabetes who developed uncontrolled infections that led to amputations. 

  • Monday, August 22, 2022 Michael Czech Lab Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis

    Investigating a Potential Path to Medication for Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) in the Czech Lab

    A significant percentage of people living with type 2 diabetes also have too much fat accumulated in their liver that can develop into a condition called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). It’s characterized by severe liver inflammation and fibrosis that can lead to cirrhosis and may require a liver transplantation. Currently, there is no medication for NASH. To better understand how a medicine might be developed, the Czech lab studied fat production in the liver from carbohydrates by disrupting an enzyme that helps to convert blood glucose into fat in obese mice. Results of their research is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

  • Thursday, August 11, 2022 Lucy Ding Diabetes Clinical Research

    Two Clinical Studies Helping Diabetic Patients at UMass Memorial Hospitals

    Meet Clinical Research Assistant Lucy Ding and learn about two studies she's involved with that are designed to help hospitalized patients living with diabetes.  One is a randomized clinical trial that provides continuous glucose monitors to people with diabetes who are currently not using one and arrive at the Emergency Room with high or low blood sugar, or other diabetes related complications. The other study is implementing a carbohydrate counting system for hospitalized inpatients with diabetes throughout the UMass Memorial Health system.

  • Wednesday, July 27, 2022 Bukyung Kim and Jae Hyun Kim

    The Kim Lab Welcomes Visiting Researchers from South Korea to Conduct Type 2 Diabetes Research

    The laboratory of Jason Kim, PhD welcomes two visiting professors from Kosin University College of Medicine in South Korea. Both physician-scientists will be conducting diabetes research at UMass Chan Medical School through 2023.  

  • Monday, July 11, 2022 Virtual Diabetes Camp Jason Kim

    Diabetes Virtual Camp for Future Scientists and Physicians Created by the Family of UMass Diabetes Researcher Jason Kim

    Dr. Kim’s daughters Allison and Lauren are also considering careers in medicine and science. When Lauren’s 2020 summer research internship at Harvard Medical School was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the family quickly created the Diabetes Virtual Camp to connect students and experts in a virtual internship setting.  

  • Thursday, June 16, 2022 JDRF Center of Excellence in New England

    JDRF Announces the Appointment of David M. Harlan, MD, as Director of their Center of Excellence in New England

    Dr. David Harlan has been named the new director of the JDRF Center of Excellence in New England. For nearly 40 years, Dr. Harlan has been conducting research exploring the pathophysiology underlying diabetes. He also brings years of experience as an endocrinologist with expertise in diabetes and metabolism. A renowned basic and clinical investigator, his current research is focused on beta cell biology and the anti-beta cell immune response. The Center is genetically modifying beta cells with the goal of making them invulnerable to the immune system when infused as a therapy into a person with type 1 diabetes.

  • Friday, May 20, 2022 Vascular Cures

    Vascular Surgeon-Scientist Tammy Nguyen Received the 2022 Wylie Scholar Award For Diabetic Wound Healing Research

    Tammy Nguyen, MD, PhD is a vascular surgeon-scientist who is interested in understanding why people living with diabetes have trouble getting foot wounds to heal. This career development grant will provide $150,000 over the next three years for her project “Exploring How the Diabetic Immune System Contributes to Non-Healing Ulcers.” Dr. Nguyen is studying the effect of type 2 diabetes (T2D) on the development of the immune system to design targeted therapies to combat poor wound healing for people with T2D. She developed a novel method to collect and expand human stem cells directly from the bone marrow of donors both with and without T2D who underwent lower extremity amputation for non-healing wounds.

  • Thursday, May 19, 2022 Diabetic Homeless Clinic

    Fourth Diabetic Foot Clinic Held for Worcester's Homeless and Underserved Population

    The 4th UMass Diabetic Health Clinic for Worcester’s homeless population was a multidisciplinary outreach event with providers from the Diabetes Center of Excellence, vascular surgery, podiatry & more. They volunteered to examine people, provided information & resources and scheduled follow-up appointments if needed. SEE PHOTOS

  • Friday, April 22, 2022 Diabetes Coaching Program UMass Memorial

    Diabetes Coaching Program is Helping Struggling Patients Improve Dangerously High Blood Sugars

    Despite attending an American Diabetes Association-recognized education program at the UMass Memorial Health Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE), some people still struggle to keep their blood glucose within a healthy range. The DCOE piloted a Care Coach Program in collaboration with Shields Health Care Group to provide supplemental support to help them manage blood glucose levels. The first participants successfully lowered their A1c and demonstrated a reduction in the distress caused by their diabetes by implementing behavioral, lifestyle, and medication changes, thanks to more frequent contact with a diabetes expert.  

  • Thursday, March 31, 2022 Diabetes gene study

    Endocrinologist Mark O'Connor Identifying Genes Linked to the Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes

    Endocrinologist Mark O'Connor, MD, led the largest genome-wide meta-analysis study ever done using a recessive model for Type 2 diabetes.  It identified 51 loci associated with diabetes, including five that were undetected by past additive analyses.  The results were published in the journal Diabetes demonstrating that recessive models can identify new genetic risk factors for T2D, including variants with large effect sizes.  

  • Thursday, March 24, 2022 Sarah Nicoloro Senior Research Scientist

    Genetically Modifying Adipocytes to Increase Fat Burning and Improve Metabolic Function as a Potential Therapy for Type 2 Diabetes

    The Czech Lab is using genetic engineering to investigate a therapeutic approach to Type 2 diabetes.  Senior scientist Sarah Nicoloro's research involves the modification of genes of adipocytes to increase fat burning and improve their metabolic function as a potential therapy.  When she joined the lab in 1998, their focus was to learn about the interactions taking place within adipocytes, particularly insulin signaling and GLUT4 trafficking. She was part of a team of scientists who developed a novel small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery system. Learn more about Sarah and her research.

  • Wednesday, March 16, 2022 Brown Adipose Tissue

    Guertin Lab Reviews the Multi-omics Era of Adipocyte Insulin Signaling and Metabolism Research in Trends in Biochemical Sciences

    Proteomics and metabolomics are advancing the understanding of insulin signaling focusing on fat cells (white and brown adipocytes).  The Guertin Lab describes how integrating the two ‘omics techniques is critical to clarifying adipocyte insulin action in Type 2 diabetes.  Their article raises questions for future investigation with important implications for understanding and treating insulin resistance, obesity and metabolic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes.  

  • Tuesday, March 08, 2022 Emily and Ben Diabetes Elective

    Two UMass Chan Medical Students Created an Elective Course Teaching In-Depth Diabetes Management and Care

    Two third year medical students at UMass Chan worked with the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence to launch an elective course called Management and Care of Patients with Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. 

  • Thursday, March 03, 2022 Richard Siller, PhD

    Type 1 Diabetes Researcher Spotlight: Richard Siller, PhD

    The Maehr Lab is interested in how immune cells are trained by the thymus, which is the organ that educates our body’s immune system to defend against infection.  For some unknown reason, white cells called T lymphocytes or T cells, destroy the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas of people with Type 1 diabetes. Richard Siller, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher, is developing functional thymic cells from human stem cells, that will be used to study the role the thymus plays in that autoimmune attack.  Learn more about Richard and his research.

  • Thursday, February 24, 2022 Insulin Rising Cost

    Affordable Insulin Now Act Includes a Monthly Out-Of-Pocket Patient Maximum of $35 for Insulin Prescriptions

    New legislation has been introduced to the United States Senate including a $35 per month insulin co-pay cap for people with Medicare, employer-sponsored coverage, or insurance purchased on the Affordable Care Act marketplace. The Affordable Insulin Now Act also requires commercial insurers to exclude insulin from the deductible. Read reactions to the bill from Dr. Samir Malkani, Clinical Chief of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence and Cheryl Barry, RN, Manager of Diabetes Education.  

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