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DRC Director's Report - January 2020

The New Year is a good time to reflect on our past progress and to look forward to research advances in the year to come. In this regard, the receipt of endowed chairs recognizes faculty whom we believe have established a track record of accomplishment and whose ongoing success will pave the way for the future of the FOEDRC. Therefore, we would like to recognize Dr. Sue Bodine, Dr. Ayotunde Dokun, and Dr. Kamal Rahmouni, the three newest recipients of endowed chairs from the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC).

These prestigious endowed chairs are funded by the generous donations of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and, provides resources our faculty need to continue their outstanding work primarily in research. Endowed chairs are a valuable asset to the FOEDRC, as they confer prestige to the holder and University of Iowa; and contribute to our ability to recruit and retain the best diabetes and obesity scholars at the university and from institutions across the country.
 

Dr. Sue Bodine, PhD, Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, is a Neuromuscular Physiologist whose general field of study is skeletal muscle plasticity. Dr. Bodine moved to the University of Iowa in 2017 from the University of California, Davis where she was a full Professor with joint appointments in the Departments of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, and Physiology and Membrane Biology. Her laboratory is interested in identifying the mechanisms responsible for muscle atrophy and determining strategies for preventing atrophy or accelerating recovery following a period of muscle loss. The mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle growth are of interest since activation of hypertrophy pathways could be beneficial in the treatment of atrophy and also because an inability to respond to growth cues could exacerbate the loss of muscle mass and function that occurs during aging and also as the result of obesity and diabetes. 

Dr. Ayotunde Dokun, MD, PhD, is the Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and the Verna Funke Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center Chair. Dr. Dokun joins us from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center where he was an Associate Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Endocrine Service at Regional One Health. Dr. Dokun’s research interest focuses on understanding how genetic factors and the metabolic abnormalities associated with diabetes contribute to vascular diseases such as peripheral artery disease (PAD). His publications have appeared in Circulation, Circulation Research, the American Journal of Physiology, Heart Circulation and Physiology and a number of other high-impact, peer-reviewed journals. He has shown a commitment to positively shaping the future of the profession through national leadership roles exemplified by his current service on the National Clinical Care Commission (NCCC) that is tasked with providing recommendations on the coordination and leveraging of federal programs related to complex metabolic or autoimmune diseases, many of which are related to diabetes and its complications. 

Dr. Kamal Rahmouni, PhD, is a Professor in the Departments of Neuroscience and Pharmacology and the Department of Internal Medicine. He hold a Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Center Research Chair at the University of Iowa. His work is focused on the neurobiology of metabolism, energy homeostasis and cardiovascular function and related disorders such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension. The central nervous system (brain) is a major player in the regulation of energy homeostasis as well as cardiovascular system. His research is aimed at the identification of the neuroanatomical and molecular pathways involved in the regulation of metabolic, autonomic and cardiovascular functions. The knowledge gained from these studies will advance our understanding of the role of brain pathways in leading to diabetes and some of its cardiovascular complications. The Rahmouni lab uses multidisciplinary approaches including basic research tools, genetic models and physiological techniques that allow his team to address physiological questions at the molecular level. 

Please join us in saluting Dr. Bodine, Dr. Dokun, and Dr. Rahmouni for their leadership in research and scholarship and their dedication in training the next generation of diabetes researchers. They are tremendous assets to our team and the diabetes research community.

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The Fraternal Order of Eagles, an international nonprofit organization, unites fraternally in the spirit of liberty, truth, justice and equality, to make human life more desirable by lessening its ills, and by promoting peace, prosperity, gladness and hope.

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