Research

The Endocrinology and Metabolism Section is home to a rich tapestry of basic, clinical and translational research activities. Our research faculty are all successful investigators in their own right but also cooperate closely with other investigators in both basic and clinical departments to pursue interdisciplinary projects, a fact reflected by the 7 different interdepartmental research centers led by members of our Section (see below). Details of each faculty member’s research program can be explored from links located within the faculty list for the Section. Additional information about the endocrine faculty and the other members of our research-training faculty can be located on the education page.

The research activities of the Section can be broadly divided into three programmatic areas, namely Type 1/Childhood-Onset Diabetes, Type 2/Adult-Onset Diabetes, and Bone and Mineral Metabolism. Each program spans both basic and human-based clinical research and is designed to translate discoveries from the bench to the bedside.

The program in type 1 diabetes includes Drs. Sherwin, Herold, Tamborlane, Gulanski, McCrimmon, and Wen. Research is centered on brain glucose sensing; the mechanisms responsible for defective glucose counterregulation in diabetes; development of a closed loop mechanical pancreas; the immunopathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes; and the development and implementation of immunomodulatory treatments for type 1 diabetes.

The program in type 2 diabetes includes Drs. Bogan, Petersen, Shulman, Cline, Inzucchi, Caprio, Samuel and Kibbey. Research in this program spans a variety of topics including the mechanisms of insulin resistance and signaling; the coupling of metabolism to insulin secretion in beta-cells; in vivo imaging of islets, the molecular mechanisms regulating glucose transport; the development of insulin resistance and diabetes in adolescents; the regulation of appetite and obesity; and the outcome of vascular disease in diabetics.

The program in bone and mineral metabolism includes Drs. Broadus, Insogna, Philbrick, Carpenter, Macica, Holt and Wysolmerski. Research by these investigators focuses on the biology of PTHrP in cartilage and mammary gland; bone cell biology; skeletal metabolism and osteoporosis; calcium metabolism during lactation and the transport of calcium into milk; the role of dietary protein in calcium and bone metabolism; and the pathogenesis and treatment of disorders of phosphate metabolism, especially X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets.

Research activities within the Endocrine Section are enhanced by the following 7 research centers, each of which is its own community of scientists, physicians and trainees dedicated to advancing research in a specific topic/disease.

Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center (DERC). The goal of the Yale DERC is to enhance the quality of research and training in diabetes and related metabolic and endocrine disorders at the University. The Center currently brings together a multidisciplinary group of nearly 100 member scientists, new investigators and research trainees from the Departments of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Immunobiology, Biology, Cell Biology, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Genetics, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Physiology, Pharmacology, Surgery, Orthopedics, Neurosurgery, Neurology, Psychiatry, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Diagnostic Radiology, Psychology, Pathology, Laboratory Medicine, and from the Schools of Public Health and Nursing and the Pierce Laboratory. The cornerstone of the Center is its 7 Research Cores (clinical metabolism, molecular, transgenic-knockout mouse models, genetics, physiology, cell biology and human translation), which provide funded basic and clinical investigators with the opportunity to more efficiently utilize resources and expand the scope of their research programs.

The JDRF Center for the Study of Hypoglycemia at Yale University. Hypoglycemia has emerged as the principal obstacle to the use of intensive insulin therapy regimens that reduce the long-term complications of type 1 diabetes (T1DM). The JDRF center for the Study of hypoglycemia encompasses a group of interdisciplinary investigators from the Departments of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Diagnostic Radiology and Biomedical Engineering and includes projects with the long-term goal of developing a therapy that would reduce the risk of or protect the brain from injury caused by hypoglycemia.

The Yale Core Center for Musculoskeletal Disorders (YCCMD). The YCCMD is dedicated to encouraging research in disorders of skeletal tissue, mineral metabolism and muscle. It brings together 45 faculty members from the Departments of Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Orthopedics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Surgery, Pharmacology, Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Pathology, Laboratory Medicine, Comparative Medicine and Geology and Geophysics. To encourage and sustain these efforts, the Center has established core laboratories with expertise in whole-animal and skeletal-tissue analysis, molecular methods and bone-cell culture. The Center also sponsors a seminar series to highlight research by Core members and a pilot project program to support new investigators whose work is relevant to the Center's mission.

The Yale Center for X-Linked Hypophosphatemia (YCX-LH). The YCX-LH supports research aimed at improving the health and alleviating the suffering of patients with disorders of phosphate metabolism, especially X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets. To this end it brings together researchers from 5 Departments at Yale and supports a research core that aids in investigations of phosphate metabolism. The Center is also committed to partnering with the pharmaceutical industry to develop and test novel therapies for hypophosphatemic rickets; and through its educational programs, inform health professionals and the public about diagnosing and correctly managing these diseases.

The Yale Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center (YMMPC). The YMMPC brings together a multidisciplinary group of investigators at Yale to develop and apply novel in vivo and in vitro techniques to assess metabolic alterations in transgenic mice. The cornerstone of the Center is its Research Cores that provide access to unique resources and standardized methods to characterize transgenic mice. The Yale MMPC is a national research center that provides NIH funded investigators, both inside and outside Yale, access to unique, state-of-the-art, standardized methods to characterize their novel transgenic and knockout mouse models of complex metabolic diseases.

The JDRF Center for Developing Immune Therapies for Type 1 Diabetes. This new Center focuses on translating basic research into novel treatments or prevention strategies in type 1 diabetes. Its investigators will utilize genetically engineered mice with human immune systems to accelerate clinical translation of immune therapies. The Center brings together an interdisciplinary research team from the Departments of Medicine and Immunobiology.

The Magnetic Resonance Research Center (MRRC). Based in the Department of Diagnostic Radiology, the MRRC is a major site of research activities in the Endocrine Section. A unique component of the MRRC research program is 13C MRS metabolic imaging to follow the metabolism of substrates in brain, liver, and muscle. Yale has also played a pioneering role in development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The MRRC occupies 27,000 square feet in close proximity to the endocrinology research labs. Major equipment includes a 7Tesla and 4Tesla whole body system for human MRS, a 3T Siemans Trio for fMRI, a 1.5T Siemans Sonata for MRI, and fMRI, 11.7T, 9.4T and 4.7T small animal systems, a 500 and 600 MHz vertical MRS system for protein structure and biochemical analysis.