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The latest news from the Fraternal Order of Eagles

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DRC Director's Report - July 2021

The Spring 2021 issue of the Carver College of Medicine Magazine “Medicine at Iowa”, circulated to all UI alumni, featured an important serendipitous breakthrough by scientists at the University of Iowa Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC). FOEDRC scientists discovered at safe new way to manage blood sugar non-invasively with electromagnetic fields (EMFs). This discovery could have major benefits in diabetes care, particularly for patients whose current treatment plan is cumbersome and involves checking their blood sugar multiple times daily with finger sticks.

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DRC Director's Report - June 2021

Pancreatic beta cells are only cells that can make insulin in humans. In type 2 diabetes, pancreatic beta cells are damaged and cannot make sufficient insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal. As overnutrition and obesity is a well-known risk factor for type 2 diabetes, it is important to find a way to protect beta cells from over nutrition. In a recently published study in the scientific journal JCI Insight, led by Dr. Yumi Imai, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and member of the FOEDRC, her laboratory has discovered that a protein known as Perilipin 2 plays an important role in protecting beta cells under nutritional challenge.

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DRC Director's Report - May 2021

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the US and around the world. This is a problem because being obese increases the likelihood of developing serious medical problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and heart failure. Obesity also increases the risks of complications from COVID-19 infections. We still do not understand all of the reasons why obesity develops and why some people develop complications and others do not.

In work recently published in the Journal Molecular Metabolism, FOEDRC member Dr. Kamal Rahmouni, PhD, professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology, and Internal Medicine, in collaboration with FOEDRC colleagues at the University of Iowa, identified a protein complex, called the BBSome. These are present in neurons (nerve cells) in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. 

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DRC Director's Report - April 2021

FOEDRC member Matthew Potthoff, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, and graduate student Sharon Jensen-Cody recently wrote a review article entitled: “Hepatokines and metabolism: Deciphering communication from the liver” that was published in the Journal Molecular Metabolism. This article was featured on the cover of the February issue of the Journal, that increased the visibility of their work.

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DRC Director's Report - March 2021

This month, the Spring 2021 issue of the Iowa Magazine devoted its cover and featured the University of Iowa Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC). The heartwarming article shares real life testimonies of diabetic individuals, cared for at the University of Iowa and the impact of diabetes on their daily life. 

The desire for relief is real and certainly not lost on physicians and scientists at the FOEDRC. The Center’s mission is to improve the lives of individuals with the disease and find a cure. Every day dedicated FOEDRC scientists conduct a wide range of research projects to improve and benefit the lives of many.

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DRC Director's Report - February 2021

The exact mechanisms underlying the metabolic effects of gastric bypass or bariatric surgery remain unclear. At the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Mohamad Mokadem, MD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and member of FOEDRC, and his research team have developed an animal model of bariatric surgery, which they are using to understand the underlying mechanisms by which this treatment not only prevents obesity but also reverses diabetes.

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DRC Director's Report - January 2021

A recent study by a team of UI researchers led by E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, Director, FOEDRC discovered eating a ketogenic diet rescued mice from heart failure. 

The study, published in the November issue of the journal Nature Metabolism, was one of three companion papers from independent research teams that all point to the damaging effects of excess sugar (glucose) and its breakdown products on the heart. The UI study also revealed the potential to mitigate that damage by supplying the heart with alternate fuel sources in the form of high-fat diets. 

Given its need for a constant, reliable supply of energy, the heart is very flexible about the type of molecules it can burn for fuel. Most of the heart’s energy comes from metabolizing fatty acids, but heart cells can also burn glucose and lactate, and also ketones. 

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DRC Director's Report - December 2020

Dr. Vitor Lira Associate Professor of Health and Human Physiology and member of the FOEDRC was recently awarded a new grant from the National Institutes of Health in the amount of $563,723. The grant entitled: “Molecular regulation of protein turnover in skeletal muscle” will study an important condition that afflicts many individuals as they age, particularly those with diabetes. 

Aging-related skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness, also referred to as sarcopenia, affects millions of people contributing to the development of several chronic conditions associated with poor health outcomes, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. Although sarcopenia remains poorly understood and lacks effective therapy, aged muscles manifest a problem of poor protein turnover or recycling which is called proteotoxicity. 

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DRC Director's Report - November 2020

FOE Diabetes Research Center scientists from the University of Iowa have discovered a safe new way to manage blood sugar non-invasively. Exposing diabetic mice to a combination of static electric and magnetic fields for a few hours per day normalizes two major hallmarks of type 2 diabetes, namely reducing blood glucose levels and preventing insulin resistance. These new findings were published Oct. 6 in Cell Metabolism.

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DRC Director's Report - October 2020

Please join us in welcoming Bhagirath Chaurasia, MS, PhD, to the University of Iowa and to the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center. Dr. Chaurasia also joins the Division of Endocrinology from his previous position as Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at the University of Utah. He received his PhD from the University of Cologne in Germany before working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore.