At the Diabetes and Obesity Center, we study the health effects of diabetes and obesity and how they contribute to heart disease risk. Our dedicated team of scientists is developing a new understanding of the risk factors fueling the diabetes and obesity epidemics, and discovering novel strategies for their treatment and prevention. This pioneering research is creating new knowledge to help patients live healthier and more productive lives.
With the approval of the board of trustees, a multidisciplinary Diabetes and Obesity Center was established at University of Louisville in 2008. Since its inception, the Center has fostered the career development of both junior and senior investigators. Within the last four years, seven junior investigators have acquired independent federal funding. Additional junior investigators have successfully obtained start-up grants and fellowships, as well. The Center has developed a nationally competitive program, recruiting trainees and faculty from the top academic institutions in the country.
Supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Center has also expanded and integrated on-going programs, and has established a cohesive and productive research team. The ground-breaking discoveries of Center investigators have attracted national and international attention. By generating new knowledge and innovative approaches for the treatment of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, the Center and its investigators have emerged as a leading academic unit both at the University of Louisville and nationwide.
The development of the Diabetes and Obesity Center has had a major impact on cardiovascular medicine, as well as diabetes and obesity research. By providing relevant core support, cultivating research infrastructure and recruiting a critical mass of investigators, the Center has enabled collaborative interactions between complementary projects. These interactions have been essential as we acquire new research funding, and develop comprehensive and multi-disciplinary projects.
Building on the infrastructure provided by the Center, and with the help of junior investigators, members of the Center have obtained funding for several large multi-investigator projects, such as an NIH program-project grant (PPG), a multi-PI grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), and an NHLBI-supported preclinical consortium to develop a regional clinical center for the Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN).
The Center has also built and acquired new research space with four state-of-the-art research cores, providing support for flow cytometry, imaging, pathology, cardiac function, animal maintenance and the development of new animal models of diabetes and obesity. In addition to providing expert assistance for these challenging techniques, our cores have developed novel assays and procedures, lending our investigations a unique edge. As a result of these advances, the Center continues to flourish. New investigators have been recruited to the Center. Member numbers have increased from 30 to 60, and have published landmark studies in diverse areas, including diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular research, stem cell biology and environmental cardiology. This current membership represents a unique mix of complementary expertise that is not only well-aligned with the central focus of our Center, but is also well-positioned for its future success.
A Note from Director Aruni Bhatnagar, Professor of Medicine and Distinguished University Scholar
"Diabetes and obesity are the two most significant health threats of our age. These epidemics are spreading at an alarming rate, rapidly eroding recent gains in longevity and adding to the burden of chronic diseases. Obesity decreases lifespan and increases the risk of developing chronic illness such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Long-term diabetes leads to nerve and kidney damage and it increases in the risk of heart attack and stroke. We approach diabetes and obesity not as disease states with one specific cause, but as outcomes of a larger, more comprehensive dysfunction that profoundly affects all major organs. Our researchers work tirelessly to develop a better understanding of the connection between diabetes and obesity, and how these conditions affect cardiovascular health."
- Aruni Bhatnagar, Ph.D.