Susan Brian and Family
Susan BrianIf I could choose to repeat any time in my life, I would go back again and again to the Endocrinology fellowship at Yale. It was one of the best decisions I ever made in my career, as my time at Yale taught me so many valuable lessons in practicing medicine.
I learned about the value of studying the history of endocrinology, the importance of quality research, the necessity of being a "great thinker." I learned to critically review journal articles and information presented at meetings, to seek out questions that have yet to be answered. Being mentored by the greats changed me, molded me, made me a better physician and sent me out excited for my career that lay ahead.
In 2008 I joined an active clinical practice in my hometown of Topeka, Kansas, and we have continued to grow, now with six adult and four pediatric endocrinologists. Together we have built a large inpatient diabetes service (including eight nurse practitioners and two diabetes educators), an active clinical research program, and are about to begin a "bone fragility" clinic. I have also found a wonderful work-life balance, married to my college sweetheart for 18 years, with four beautiful children. We enjoy volunteering in Haiti, where we work with a local orphanage and medical clinic, and also serving the poor in our community in Topeka. Truly living the dream!
While an endocrine fellow at Yale University School of Medicine from 2008-2012, I participated in the design and supervision of clinical trials of immunomodulatory therapy to prevent the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D) or treat at diagnosis. I also extended the use of humanized mouse models to investigate the mechanism of action of Teplizumab (anti-CD3), Natalizumab (anti- alpha-4 (α4) integrin) and Ipilimumab (CTLA-4) on human lymphocytes in vivo.
In 2012, I was recruited back to the University of Cambridge (I'm a 2002 graduate), where I am now Honorary Consultant/Attending Endocrinologist and Diabetologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and where I have successfully developed a mechanistic experimental medicine program to investigate treatments for autoimmune disease that target the key aetological pathways in humans that have been identified from gene wide association studies (GWAS) and immunophenotypic studies.
Clare FlanneryI was attracted to the Yale program because there was such a high level of engagement and camaraderie among the faculty. Many faculty were also former fellows of the program, which spoke highly of it. As I began fellowship, I was awed and somewhat intimidated by how the faculty demonstrated a fluid understanding of clinical presentation and the underlying mechanism, down to the level of signaling and metabolic flux. The enthusiasm for scientific exploration was infectious. Steadily, I picked up these skills, and received protected time to develop my own research program in the effect of diabetes and obesity on endometrial pathology, namely cancer and infertility. The section supported my interdisciplinary interests, and now I have appointments in Obstetrics & Gynecology as well as Internal Medicine. It takes a village.
Even on my fellowship interview day, I saw a remarkable quality in the close knit collegial relationships between the adult endocrine and pediatric endocrine faculty at Yale. That is what initially drew me in to come to Yale to complete a med/peds endocrinology fellowship, uniquely crafted by the program directors on my behalf.
An additionally auspicious surprise was that, during my fellowship, I was inspired to pursue research with an interest in understanding how metabolic perturbations (such as insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, leptin resistance, etc) affect neural mechanisms, which subsequently may impact eating behavior and weight gain. With the guidance and support of the senior faculty, I completed the Yale Investigative Medicine PhD Program during my fellowship, examining neurobiological and behavioral mechanisms of obesity. I cannot say enough about the (senior) faculty in the Section of Endocrinology here at Yale. In my opinion, as a whole they are kind, patient, exquisitely intelligent and yet humble and down to earth. Indeed, by setting the tone of a highly supportive environment, conducive to the pursuit of individual career interests, those of us who have chosen to accept faculty positions at Yale after fellowship now have a strong supportive peer group of junior faculty all growing together as colleagues and as friends.Why Obesity is a Disease
My favorite part of endocrinology fellowship at Yale was the dynamic and exciting research and clinical environment and the amazing faculty and fellows I worked with while I was there. The Yale Endocrinology Section is very special – the mentorship I received and the friendships that I developed during my time there have made a tremendous impact on my career.
I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. My translational research program is aimed at understanding how the brain regulates appetite and eating behavior, and in identifying early life determinants of obesity and diabetes.
One of my major research projects, entitled “Neural Mechanisms for Appetitive Responses to High Reward Foods,” implements a combination of neuroimaging, physiological and behavioral techniques that are being used in novel ways to gain a more complete understanding of how sugars affect neuroendocrine pathways and eating behavior, and how alterations in these pathways may contribute to the development of obesity.
The second major research focus in my lab is in determining how early life exposures impact the development of brain pathways that are important in the control of body weight and sugar levels in the blood. Our current project, “Neural Mechanisms in Maternal-Fetal Programming for Obesity and Diabetes,” is aimed at determining whether in utero exposure to gestational diabetes mellitus results in alterations in the structure and function of brain pathways involved in the regulation of energy and glucose homeostasis during childhood.
Ultimately the goal is to develop strategies to prevent or counteract certain developmental exposures early in life.
Dr. Deena Adimoolam earned her medical degree from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in 2009 and completed Internal Medicine residency and Endocrinology fellowship at Yale University. She has spent most of her training years dedicated to community service and outreach in the USA and abroad. She has organized many community health fairs and health education seminars on primary care prevention, diabetes, obesity, and living wellness.
Her work has been recognized in the NY community through various awards and scholarships, including the Presidential Service Award presented by Bill Clinton. At Yale, she was also recognized for her commitment to patient care with the Gary Vernon Humanism in Medicine award.
She is an avid writer and blogger on healthy living, fitness, food, preventative medicine and Endocrinology. Her blog site can be found here: http://doctor-deena.blogspot.com/. Her featured article in Endocrine News, "Patients Are a Virtue," is well worth reading as well.
She most recently completed an elective in journalism at ABC News. Her comments have been featured in multiples blog sites, online news channels and magazines. She serves as an advisory board member of Care World TV - the only television channel solely dedicated to healthy living among south Asians.
Dr. Adimoolam has presented her research at local and national Endocrinology meetings, and her research interests include:
~Endocrinopathies associated with use of combination Ipilimumab and Nivolumab for treatment of advanced melanoma~Evaluation for mutations in CYP19A in a cohort of patients with early onset osteoporosis, nephrolithiasis, and elevated 1,25 vitamin D