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David M. Harlan, MD

David Harlan

Principal Investigator

The 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 Department of Medicine Diabetes Division 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 his arrival in Worcester, Dr. Harlan served as Chief of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Program’s Diabetes Branch (NIDDK).

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

Dr. Harlan served on the NIDDK 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, Chaired the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions Planning Committee, and was an ad hoc member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scientific Review Board. 

Honors & awards received throughout his 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,” and the 2022 Rachmiel Levine Award from City of Hope.

Diabetes Research Accomplishments

Dr. Harlan's research achievements include:

  • 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