Deputy Director for Clinical Research
William Tamborlane, MD, has long been inspired by his patients. He leads a multidisciplinary team that cares for more than 1,000 children, adolescents and young adults with diabetes.
“One of the reasons our patients with diabetes do so well is that we’re actively involved in research,” he said. Dr. Tamborlane’s dedication was evident in 1979, when he stayed overnight at Yale-New Haven Hospital to monitor seven children who participated in a clinical trial to test a portable insulin pump to improve control of Type 1 diabetes. Collaborating with his mentor and colleague, Robert Sherwin, MD, he then went on to carry out the research that paved the way for the landmark Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, which ended the debate about whether glycemic control influences the development of diabetes-related complications.
Since then, Dr.Tamborlane has established his international reputation as one of the foremost clinical scientists in childhood diabetes and related disorders. As with his early work, the hallmark of his research has been to investigate methods to overcome the obstacles to successfully managing diabetes in pediatric patients.
Using sophisticated metabolic techniques, he has shown that intensive diabetes treatment results in impairments of counterregulatory hormone responses to hypoglycemia and that normal puberty induces a state of insulin resistance that is exaggerated in adolescents with Type 1 diabetes. He has worked with Yale colleagues at the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing to explore the adverse metabolic consequences of childhood obesity and to develop novel behavioral interventions to improve the outcomes of Type 1 diabetes in adolescents. Dr. Tamborlane is currently conducting pioneering studies on an artificial pancreas system that utilizes external sensors and insulin pumps.
In the realm of Type 2 diabetes, Dr. Tamborlane is leading The Glycemia Reduction Approaches in Diabetes (GRADE) Study, to compare the long-term benefits and risks of four widely used diabetes drugs in combination with metformin, the most common first-line medication for type 2 diabetes. As with his work in Type 1 diabetes, he believes that this study will have an enormous impact on the treatment and management of type 2 diabetes. He is also the founder and Steering Committee chair of the Pediatric Diabetes Consortium T2D Registry and Clinic Network that includes 36 of the leading pediatric Type 2 treatment centers in the US. The group is committed to working together to test the safety and efficacy of new treatments for adolescents Type 2 diabetes.
In addition to his research and clinical practice, Dr. Tamborlane has mentored scores of young physicians who have gone on to distinguish themselves in patient-oriented research in diabetes. He is the Program Director of the Yale K12 grant from NIDDK – one of only five such grants awarded - to support the career development of young pediatric physician scientists in diabetes research. “The development of bright qualified enthusiastic clinical and translational physician investigators is one of the keystones of the CTSA program as well as what we envision as the key role of successful clinical research at Yale,” he said. “We want to identify young physician investigators of high potential and make sure that are given every opportunity to take the steps forward to begin to realize that potential.”
For more on Dr. Tamborlane, click here.