9 February DRC Director's Report - January 2022 February 9, 2022 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center Iowa, DRC, Diabetes, Diabetes Research Center 0 It is with mixed emotions, but with a sense of great pride in our accomplishments that I write this my final Director’s report. When I came to the University of Iowa nearly 9-years ago, I was given a challenge to leverage the generous gift of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, to develop a world class diabetes research center. I reflected back on where things were at the University of Iowa in 2008, when the FOE began your campaign for the Diabetes Research Center and where they are now. In 2008, there were 5 faculty members identified as doing diabetes research with a total team of 20. We had 10 grants received and approximately $1M in funding from the National Institute of Health. Now, 13 years later the FOEDRC houses 110 faculty members, greater than 1,000 researchers. Since that time we have received more than $375M in research funding from 780 grants and more than 1,600 published research articles. Many members of our team have received national and international recognition for their work. We have made important research breakthroughs ranging from the development of promising new approaches for treating diabetes, to increased understanding of how diabetes happens and what we can do to prevent it. As I move on, I hand the reins over to two distinguished and highly qualified colleagues, Dr. Andrew Norris and Kamal Rahmouni, who have agreed to serve as interim co-directors of the FOEDRC. Andy Norris, MD PhD, is a physician scientist and Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Biochemistry. He serves as the Director of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, and holds a Richard O. Jacobson Foundation Chair in Pediatrics. His research involves translational studies related to the integrated physiology of diabetes across the lifespan, with recent focus on cystic fibrosis related diabetes and early life determinants of diabetes risk. He has served as Associate Director of the FOEDRC since 2014. Andy has provided steady leadership within the FOEDRC since its inception. He was instrumental in setting up euglycemic clamps in our Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Core, he has led our Chalk Talk series which has provided invaluable grant mentorship to entire FOEDRC Community. Andy served with me as Co-PI of our Diabetes Center Training grant, which will be renewed for funding for an additional 5 years. Kamal Rahmouni is a professor in the Department of Neuroscience & Pharmacology and Internal Medicine. He also holds the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Center Research Endowed Chair and serves as Co-Director of the Obesity Research and Education Initiative. His research seeks to understand the fundamental processes involved in the control of energy homeostasis in health and disease. His work has led to the identification of novel mechanisms that underlie obesity and associated disorders including type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Kamal has been the recipient of the 2016 Paul Korner Award by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) and the 2015 Mid-Career Award for Research Excellence from the Council of Hypertension from the American Heart Association. He is a co-PI on the Nephrology and Hypertension Training Grant and the Training Director of the American Heart Association Strategic Focused Research Network Award to the University of Iowa on cardiometabolic disease. Kamal and Andy have mentored many trainees and faculty within the FOEDRC and are very qualified to continue the current trajectory of the Diabetes Center. I am confident that they will provide strong and steady leadership as long as needed, while a search for a new permanent director is conducted. The FOEDRC is strong and our current trajectory predicts a bright future. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you as Director of the FOEDRC and thank you for the generosity of the FOE to being us to this point. I look forward to serving as a senior advisor in the years ahead. Related Articles 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. DRC Director's Report - May 2022 Obesity causes a buildup of fat metabolites, including a toxic lipid molecule ceramide. Buildup of ceramide worsens health because it contributes to the development of diabetes and other diseases. Previous work has shown that targeting ceramide is an effective strategy to treat obesity, diabetes and associated cardiovascular disease. This can be achieved using a molecule called myriocin which is a very potent inhibitor of ceramide generation. Myriocin-mediated reduction of ceramide levels was found to be an effective way to treat obesity and associated diseases in rodents. Myriocin, which is not approved for use in humans, is abundant in a number of fungal species including the one called Cordyceps which is routinely consumed as part of traditional Chinese medicine used for the treatment of numerous diseases including diabetes. DRC Director's Report - February 2022 On January 3rd, 2022, we celebrated the career of FOEDRC faculty member Dr. Eva Tsalikian on the occasion of her well-earned retirement. For over 4 decades, Dr. Tsalikian has been tireless in her pursuit of better treatments for children with diabetes. Her research work earned her the 2011 Mary Tyler Moore & S. Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Diabetes Research award and she was the 2013 Honoree at the Eastern Iowa Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation gala. DRC Director's Report - April 2022 A research team that includes several FOEDRC faculty recently published an article describing a new approach to help treat type 2 diabetes. The research team included FOEDRC faculty members Robert Kerns PhD, Andrew Norris MD PhD, Eric Taylor PhD, Yumi Imai MD, and Jessica Smith MD. Also recognized in the publication was Wojciech Grzesik, PhD, who is a research scientist in the FOEDRC metabolic phenotyping core. The work was published in the prestigious journal "Nature Communications" and can be found at this link : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35145074/ DRC Director's Report - January 2019 The new year is always a time to look back and reflect on the many achievements of the prior year. I have been pleased that the Fraternal Order of Eagles has committed continued support to a program that will be overseen by the FOEDRC that seeks to develop new treatments for diabetes and its complications and to bring them ultimately to market. The Bridge to the cure program represents an innovative collaboration and we are excited by what this new year will bring. For this reason, I have chosen to write about one example from a FOEDRC member that recently demonstrated the ability of the compound nicotinamide riboside to restore nerve damage from chemotherapy. We believe that this same mechanism could lead to improved nerve function in people with diabetes. I hope that you will enjoy reading about this exciting advance below. 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). Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.