Fraternal Order of Eagles
Diabetes Research Center
DRC Research Pair Receive National Recognition
Every day, diabetes research efforts funded by The Fraternal Order of Eagles continue
to make progress toward finding a cure. For two of our researchers, such progress
was recently recognized on a national level.
Matthew J. Potthoff, PhD., an assistant
professor of pharmacology, was recently awarded a three-year grant from the Edward
Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation, which allows him $60,000 per-year to fund his project
entitled “Novel Therapeutic Approach to Combat Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome.”
This funding complements the research award Potthoff received earlier this year
from the American Diabetes Association.
Dr. Potthoff’s lab is focused on discovering
new pathways that regulate energy metabolism and which may be dysregulated during
obesity and diabetes. Recently, Dr. Potthoff identified a potential mechanism to
increase insulin sensitivity and treat diabetes and obesity, based on insights that
his research has provided regarding a new hormone secreted by the liver called FGF21.
This hormone could ultimately be developed into a new treatment for diabetes.
resources provided by the Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation Grant and the F.O.E.
Diabetes Research Center will allow Dr. Potthoff to study this pathway in greater
detail to accelerate the development of this novel therapy to treat diabetes and
the metabolic syndrome.
Qi Wu, PhD., also an assistant professor of pharmacology,
has been named as a 2013 Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. Wu is one of just
22 scientists nationwide to receive this prestigious four-year, $240,000 award from
the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Dr. Wu’s lab is focused on the regulation of appetite
and energy metabolism by the brain. Wu said his research specifically aims to better
understand how the brain controls food intake and energy metabolism. These pathways
in the brain respond to abnormal levels of nutritional and hormonal signals that
originate from the overconsumption of high fat and high sugar diets.
Dr. Wu’s work
could point the way to possible treatments for regulating appetite and the way in
which the body burns energy. His work is not only relevant to the treatment of metabolic
disorders, such as type 2 diabetes but also eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa
and food addiction.
DRC Featured On FOX Sports 1
On Sept. 8, The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center and F.O.E Driver
Miguel Paludo were featured on FOX Sports 1 (formerly SPEED) during pre-race coverage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race
from Iowa. Paludo, a Type 1 diabetic, toured the John & Mary Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, home of the DRC, in July with F.O.E. leadership.
The special feature can be found below.
During the Joint Session held Monday, July 29, at the International Convention in Reno, Nevada, University of Iowa President Sally Mason delivered a speech to Aerie and Auxiliary members and presented a special video update on The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center. This update is now available for members everywhere to view on the official F.O.E. YouTube page.
Turner Scott Racer Joins Eagles at DRC Site
On Friday, July 12, The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center was thrust
into the spotlight with the gracious support of Turner Scott Motorsports, the team
sponsored by the F.O.E.
Turner Scott driver Miguel Paludo joined a contingency of Eagles, led by Grand Worthy
President Ron Stine, for a private tour at the University of Iowa. The tour included
lab visits, where Paludo learned of the important work our Diabetes Research Center
Paludo, who drives for Turner Scott in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, is
a Type 1 diabetic, diagnosed at the age of 21. Just 8 years later, he and his wife
learned that their son Oliver (now 30 months old) was also a Type 1 diabetic.
Paludo was pleased to learn more about the Eagles’ fight against this disease that
impacts every day of his life. What’s more, a Speed Channel crew was on hand to
film the DRC, as well as conduct an interview with the driver. Speed Channel intends
to air that feature during an upcoming televised race. For those of you traveling
to Convention, Paludo will be joining us for the Welcome to Reno show on Sunday
night. Stay tuned, as we’ll share more details when we have them. And keep up your
great work for The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center.
to see photos from the event
Leptin: The Good & The Bad
A tiny region of the brain, the hypothalamus, regulates many critical processes.
These include glucose metabolism, appetite, sleep-wake cycles, blood pressure, heart
rate, the reproductive cycle, stress hormones, to name a few. All of this is accomplished
by a few hundred of the trillions of cells in the human body.
Investigators at the University of Iowa, many of whom are part of the Fraternal
Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, study the hypothalamus. An example of
this work at the UI is the group led by Kamal Rahmouni, PhD. Dr. Rahmouni, right,
one of the first recipients of an FOEDRC Pilot Project Grant, and his colleagues
study a hormone called leptin, which works in the hypothalamus.
Leptin is produced by fat cells in proportion to their mass. It is a signal of energy
sufficiency. Leptin travels to certain cells in the hypothalamus where it serves
as an appetite suppressant – to decrease the body’s store of energy in the form
of fat. This is good.
Dr. Rahmouni and his team published an important paper this month in which they
define the biochemical pathway in the hypothalamus that leptin uses to regulate
the activity of the nerves that increase blood pressure and decrease blood flow
in various parts of the body. The net effect of this can be bad, since hypertension
(high blood pressure) and stroke and heart attack (decreased blood flow) are major
complications of both obesity and diabetes.
In future studies, this group will attempt to determine how to augment the good
effects of leptin, while blunting the potentially bad effects. This can only be
done by gaining a further understanding of the signaling pathway they have described.
Dr. Rahmouni’s paper, which cited the FOEDRC for its support, was published in the
very prestigious journal Cell Metabolism. It is already generating a good deal of
interest because of its central importance in the understanding of diabetes/obesity
and the serious cardiovascular complications of these related diseases.
Daryl K. Granner, M.D.
The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center
The University of Iowa
E. Dale Abel, M.D., Appointed Director of Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research
The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center is proud to announce the
appointment of E. Dale Abel, M.D., D.Phil, as the new director of the F.O.E. Diabetes
Research Center at the University of Iowa. Dr. Abel will hold the John B. Stokes
III Chair and will begin serving in his role as director June 30.
Since 2008, the Eagles has contributed $19 million toward finding a cure for diabetes.
The DRC, which occupy the second floor of the John and Mary Pappajohn Biomedical
Discovery Building on the campus of the University of Iowa, is already making significant
breakthroughs in diabetes research. The F.O.E. is excited to welcome Dr. Abel as
the leader of our charge to end diabetes once and for all.
Dr. Abel is currently the chief of the Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes division
at the University of Utah School of Medicine, where he has been on faculty as a
professor of medicine and biochemistry since 2000.
His research interests include investigating mechanisms underlying diabetes, metabolism
and diabetic heart disease. Prior to joining the University of Utah, Abel received
his medical degree with distinction from the University of the West Indies, and
then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where he earned his Doctor of
Philosophy degree. He completed his medical training at Northwestern University,
where he served as chief medical resident before moving on to Beth Israel Deaconess
Medical Center at the Harvard Medical School.
“Diabetes affects more than 26 million people. Finding a cure means we must populate
our world-class facilities with the best research talent in the US and the world.”
says Deb Schwinn, dean of the UI Carver College of Medicine. “I am very impressed
by Dr. Abel’s background and experience and know he is the perfect fit to lead our
diabetes research center.”
The partnership between the Eagles and the University of Iowa is already fostering
new discoveries that may one day lead to new treatments and maybe even prevention
of diabetes. The announcement of Dr. Abel’s leadership is an important milestone
in the continued substantial growth for one of the world’s preeminent research centers.
“Dr. Abel has a proven track record of high achievement and his appointment to this
leadership position comes at a critical moment as we seek new and innovative approaches
for diabetes research,” says Dr. Jean Robillard, vice president for medical affairs
for the University of Iowa. “From 1980 to 2010, the number of people with diabetes
has more than tripled. Together, we must stem the tide. I am confident that Dr.
Abel’s multidisciplinary approach to research will help us move quickly toward improved
treatments and eventually prevention of this devastating disease.”
For the latest news and information regarding The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes
Research Center, keep posted to our Members-Only website.
Cooperating To Find A Cure
Among the biggest points of emphasis across The Fraternal Order of Eagles this fraternal
year is teamwork. By coming together and combining our various strengths, the odds
of reaching a common goal are significantly greater. Nowhere are these principles
more evident than within The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center.
The nature of biomedical research has changed in many ways over the past several
years. The explosion of knowledge and technology has made it difficult, if not impossible,
for one person’s laboratory to have the resources necessary to investigate complex
problems like diabetes or obesity. A major objective of the DRC is to assemble a
group of investigators with complementary talents who, by working with each other,
can make significant discoveries.
The team composed of Chadi Calarge and John Kirby is proving how two schools of
thought can unite to find success. Calarge is a psychiatrist with specialty training
in child/adolescent psychiatry. He has done research on the effects powerful antipsychotic
drugs have on children, in whom they generally were not tested before approval for
general use. We now know that weight gain and diabetes is a serious side-effect
of these drugs in children (and adults).
Kirby has a very different background. He is a PhD-trained biochemist who has spent
his career studying how bacteria grow in communities by sending signals to their
neighbors. He has become an expert in high throughput DNA sequencing, which allows
him to identify the various populations of bacteria that make up the different communities
that inhabit our bodies. These communities in the gut, skin, nose etc. can be affected
by things we are exposed to in our environment.
The Calarge/Kirby team submitted a pilot project grant to the DRC last summer. They
proposed to study whether certain drugs used to treat children with severe mental
problems cause a change in the host’s intestinal bacterial population. The idea
is that such a change could alter the way these persons process food, and could,
in turn, cause obesity and/or diabetes. This association has been made in humans
in other contexts. If their study (which was approved for funding by the DRC) is
correct, a major problem in the treatment of these children will have been identified.
It will then be possible to avoid this problem, or treat it more rationally. Their
findings could have a more general application to the broad field of diabetes, as
alterations in the intestinal bacterial community could be used as a treatment.
Calarge and Kirby have proven how much value the concept of teamwork holds and how
sometimes the most unlikely pairing can lead to great progress and, ultimately,
Editor’s Note: Information used in this story was provided by The University of
Iowa. Medical terminology and scientific explanations were summarized for a broader
audience by The Fraternal Order of Eagles Marketing & Communications Department.
Building A Research Program
A successful research program is built very much like a new business. It starts
with an idea generated by a faculty member and requires a laboratory suitably equipped
and sufficient in size to perform the work. There must be well-trained staff to
help do the work and it requires enough financial support to pay the salaries of
the scientist and his/her staff, equip the laboratory and pay for necessary supplies.
All of this takes time and, often, a great deal of money.
Currently, we are repeating this development process several times over with the
four new faculty members recruited into the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research
Center. These bright young minds have plenty of ideas and we eagerly await the opening
of the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building (PBDB), which will provide them with
the premium quality research space necessary to make significant progress. This
is where the generous gift of the F.O.E. comes into play. Using this gift, we are
able to fully support the start-up process for these young diabetes investigators
for 3-4 years. This funding allows them to hire and train staff, buy supplies, and
conduct experiments that will enable them to apply for research grants that will
provide long-term support.
The research grant system is the life-blood of a sustainable program. It is a very
difficult process. Starting with a testable idea, the investigator then prepares
a 20-25 page document in which the idea is explained, justified as to importance,
novelty and relevance. A series of experiments that will test the idea is then outlined.
The grant is then sent to the funding agency (NIH, American Diabetes Associations,
and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). The agency assembles a team of 15-20
expert scholars, often from around the world, to evaluate and score the proposal.
The scores are ranked best to worst, and the agency decides how many grants they
can fund. This is called the pay line. Above, you win; below, you lose. Right now
the pay lines are very narrow, so it is hard to get a grant.
This process takes a great amount of time. An investigator may spend up to 100 hours
(in “after hours” time) writing the grant. It might not get reviewed for 6-9 months,
and the pay date may be 3-4 months after this. The whole process can take more than
a year for each cycle. The patience to work through the process proves just how
dedicated our researchers are.
The F.O.E. can be proud of the young investigators it is supporting through the
Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center. They have already submitted
six grants and more are on the way – all with the help of the F.O.E.
Eagles Make Fourth DRC Check Presentation
Several Fraternal Order of Eagles dignitaries gathered at the John and Mary Pappajohn
Biomedical Discovery Building Oct. 29, to take a hard hat tour of the home of The
F.O.E. Diabetes Research Center and make the organization’s fourth donation presentation
to the University of Iowa. A check for $4 million was presented, bringing the Eagles’
total contribution to the university to $19 million through four years.
Grand Worthy President Ron Stine, Grand Madam President Sally Villalva, Grand Aerie
and Grand Auxiliary officers, faculty from the University of Iowa and our Face of
Diabetes – 13-year-old Amanda Christ – came together for the opportunity to see
the progress made thus far and celebrate the hard work of our membership four years
into this tremendous fundraising effort.
The balance of our commitment stands at $8 million, which includes the $6 million
yet to be contributed to the university and the $2 million loan used to meet our
2011 goal which must be paid back.
While we’re happy to take another solid step toward fulfilling our $25 million commitment,
we still have work to do. The quest to make our fifth check presentation is underway
now with American Diabetes Month!
Eric Taylor Joins Diabetes Research Center
The key to making The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center successful
is building a base of strong researchers dedicated to bringing diabetes to a halt.
As such, the DRC is proud to introduce a new piece of the puzzle for success - Eric
Taylor received his PhD from Brigham Young University in 2005 where he studied in
the Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology. His thesis concerned the
relationship between exercise and metabolism. In his time at BYU, Taylor had seven
research articles published.
Following his work in Utah, he trained with Dr. Laurie Goodyear at Harvard’s Joslin
Diabetes Research Center. Taylor researched how glucose uptake by skeletal muscle
is regulated. His work was published on seven more occasions before moving back
to Utah in 2007 to work with Dr. Jared Rutter.
He studied mitochondria – the engine of cells controlling the production and utilization
of energy. Taylor’s research was again published and he will continue his work as
a member of the F.O.E. Diabetes Research Center at the University of Iowa.
In his free time, he enjoys being outdoors and spending time with his wife Andrea
and their three children. Taylor is an avid cyclist who looks forward to exploring
DRC Awards Second Round of Research Grants
Though we’re still months from The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center’s
physical opening, work using DRC funds continues to take place at the University
The DRC is proud to announce that a second round of research grants have been awarded
to leading researchers in the field of diabetes. Each of the four budding researchers
will receive a grant for $50,000 for 2013, with a possible second year grant based
on the progress made this coming year.
This year’s grant recipients are:
Chadi Calarge, M.D., Associate Professor, Psychology Department
Calarge will examine antipsychotic drugs and the possibility of side effects on
the human body causing weight gain and diabetes. By studying these medications,
Calarge can potentially help decrease the risk of contracting diabetes as a side
effect of using necessary medications.
Gary Pierce, PhD., Assistant Professor, Health and Human Physiology
Pierce will study whether the inhibition of inflammation (the halting of processes
that help fight tissue destruction) affects macrovascular dysfunction (disease of
large blood vessels such as the coronary artery as it relates to diabetes) and autonomic
dysfunction (disease or malfunction of the central nervous system) in obese, prediabetic
humans. His work can potentially help determine more exact processes causing Type
2 diabetes in an effort to help combat it.
Dawn Quelle, PhD., Associate Professor, Pharmacology Department
Quelle will work to determine how the protein Parf-1A regulates the growth of insulin-producing
beta cells in the pancreas, and thus influences the development of diabetes. By
determining the exact effect of the protein, Quelle can help researchers eliminate
or refocus their efforts to ultimately find a cure.
Yuriy Usachev, PhD., Associate Professor, Pharmacology Department
Usachev will attempt to target the mitochondrial processes that might provide protection
against neuropathic disorders related to diabetes. Through his work, Usachev’s work
could ultimately help bring an end to the harmful effects diabetes has on the body’s
For complete descriptions of these projects, visit http://www.healthcare.uiowa.edu/centers/diabetes/index.html. Please note that these descriptions are intended for an academic audience.
The DRC is also proud to announce that the grants awarded to 2012 researchers Anne Kwitek, Kamal Rahmouni, Andrew Norris and Leonid Zingman have all been extended for a second year of research. We thank you for your efforts and are proud to provide assistance in your work toward finding a cure!
Editor’s Note: Information used in this story was provided by the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine with medical terminology and scientific explanations summarized for a broader audience by The Fraternal Order of Eagles.
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Eagles Fund Study Unlocking Potential Key to Stopping Diabetes
The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center is already making a significant
impact on the promise of improving lives. A recent study conducted at The University
of Iowa and funded partially by the Diabetes Research Center may have unlocked the
key to slowing diabetes. Published in the June 8 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism,
the study found that ursolic acid, a substance found in apple peel, reduced fat,
blood sugar levels, cholesterol and triglycerides in mice and may be useful in treating
The substance was also found to reduce muscle atrophy in mice, causing a gene expression
pattern opposite that of which causes atrophy.
"The old saying goes that 'an apple a day keeps the doctor away.' So, we tested
ursolic acid in mice, and found that it increased the size and strength of their
muscles," said University of Iowa endocrinologist Christopher Adams, M.D., Ph. D.
in a press release. "It did this by helping two hormones that build muscle: insulin-like
growth factor-1 (IGF1) and insulin. Because ursolic acid increased muscle, it reduced
muscle atrophy. Surprisingly, it had some other beneficial effects in mice: for
example, it reduced body fat, and lowered blood glucose and cholesterol."
Mice given ursolic acid were found to have smaller fat cells and increased muscle
growth compared to mice who were not given the substance. In addition, the acid
increased activity in the receptors for IGF1 and insulin, increasing the effect
the hormones have on muscles.
The breakthrough is one in what hopes to be a long line of discoveries as The Fraternal
Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center pushes forward in the quest to find a cure.
Dr. Adams and the University of Iowa team hope the breakthrough will lead to human
trials based on their research.
Find out more at http://news-releases.uiowa.edu/2011/june/060711ursolic_acid.html
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Donate or Fundraise Now!
Join the Fraternal Order of Eagles and The University of Iowa in our quest to find
a cure for diabetes –
download a campaign pledge form. Complete the form and mail to:
Fraternal Order of Eagles - Attn: Diabetes Research Center
1623 Gateway Circle South
Grove City, Ohio 43123-9309
If you are sending a check please make out the check to The Fraternal Order
of Eagles Foundation, Inc. or FOE Foundation and include
Diabetes Research Center or DRC in the memo section
of the check to earmark your check for this charity project.