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David M. Harlan, MD

David Harlan

Principal Investigator

William and Doris Krupp Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of the Diabetes Center of Excellence at UMass Chan Medical School, Director of the JDRF Center of Excellence in New England 

Diabetes Research Interests

Tolerance mechanisms and organ/tissue transplantation

Autoimmune illnesses, especially insulin dependent diabetes 

Human beta cell biology

Improving diabetes care delivery systems

For nearly 40 years, Dr. Harlan has conducted basic and clinical research exploring the pathophysiology underlying diabetes.  He has served as co-director of the UMass Chan Medical School's Diabetes Center of Excellence  since 2010 and spent ten years as Chief of the Diabetes Division within the Department of Medicine at UMass Memorial Health.  During that time, clinic volume more than tripled and novel communication tools were developed to better engage patients in their own care.  Prior to arriving at UMass, Dr. Harlan served as Chief of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Program’s Diabetes Branch (NIDDK).

His accomplishments and expertise are internationally acclaimed as a diabetes investigator and physician.  He has been an invited speaker worldwide including Australia, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Spain, England, Sweden, Brazil and Canada. 

Dr. Harlan

Dr. Harlan has served on the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Advisory Council and Medical Science Review Committee of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International, been a respected member of the Biological Response Modifiers Advisory Committee for the FDA, chair of the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions Planning Committee and served on the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scientific Review Board as an ad hoc member. 

Numerous honors and awards received during his illustrious career include the Frank Brown Berry Prize for Federal Medicine, Legion of Merit from the United States Navy, Peter Forsham Award for Academic Excellence from the Society of Uniformed Endocrinologists, U.S. PHS Physician Researcher of the Year Award, Children with Diabetes Foundation Friend for Life Award, and Massachusetts Medical Law Report Rx for Excellence Award for “Leader in Quality.”

Diabetes Research Accomplishments

Dr. Harlan's diabetes research accomplishments span a wide range including the following highlights:

  • Developed a mouse model to study pathogenic mechanisms underlying diabetes
  • Employed non-human primate models to evaluate novel immunomodulatory approaches to prevent allograft rejection and transplanted pancreatic islet biology
  • Studied isolated human islets to disclose important structural features and functional biology, and to develop new analytical tools
  • Conducted clinical trials to test novel therapies and elucidate important human biology as it relates to diabetes and its treatment
  • Led efforts to improve diabetes care delivery for inpatients and outpatients by creating better care systems within the hospital and community providers


BS Physiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 
MD, Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, NC, 1980
Residency and Fellowship, Duke University Medical Center