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UF experts on diabetes research and scholarship

The following University of Florida researchers are available to speak to reporters on a range of topics related to diabetes research and scholarship. Links to research papers, commentary and video are included with their bios.

 

MEDICINE

Mark Atkinson, director, UF Diabetes Institute; American Diabetes Association Eminent Scholar for Diabetes Research and Jeffrey Keene Family Professor, UF College of Medicine

Research interests: Prediction and prevention of Type 1 diabetes and the role of environment in initiation of the disease, stem cells and pancreatic regeneration, the use of animal models in studies of Type 1 diabetes pathogenesis and therapy, identification of markers of tolerance and immunoregulation

Atkinson has contributed to the performance of seven “bench to bedside” trials for the prevention and cure of Type 1 diabetes. He has been an adviser to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Diabetes Association and the National Institutes of Health and is president of Insulin for Life USA, which provides insulin to people with diabetes in the developing world.

Funding for biobank grows at UF for Type 1 diabetes  

Mapping the 100 trillion cells that make up your body  

Busting Type 1 diabetes Myths  

Contact Bill Levesque, science writer, UF Health, 352-273-6160, or Rossana Passaniti, media relations coordinator, UF Health, 352-273-8569

 

Todd Brusko, associate professor, Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine, UF College of Medicine

Research interests: Prevention and intervention of Type 1 diabetes

A member of the Helmsley Charitable Trust Team Science Initiative, Brusko is involved in several ongoing projects to better understand the immune repertoire at the site of autoimmune attack. His research centers on understanding the mechanisms by which the immune system maintains a state of control, often referred to as immunological tolerance. A portion of his lab is dedicated to understanding how genetic risk variants influence this process, as well as identifying pathway defects in individuals who develop autoimmune diseases. These studies have focused primarily on genes impacting key checkpoints in T cell activation, including TCR signaling, co-stimulation and the IL-2 signaling pathway.

Diabetes gene comes out of hiding  

Dr. Brusko gives a tour of his lab for kids  

Contact Bill Levesque, science writer, UF Health, 352-273-6160, or Rossana Passaniti, media relations coordinator, UF Health, 352-273-8569

 

Michael Clare-Salzler, professor and chair, director of experimental pathology, Center for Immunology and Transplantation, UF College of Medicine

Research interests: Type 1 diabetes diagnosis and management, autoimmune thyroid disease, other endocrine diseases

Clare-Salzler‘s areas of clinical expertise lie in the diagnosis and management of Type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, management of thyroid nodules, fine needle aspiration of thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. He also specializes in other endocrine diseases including Cushing’s Disease, pituitary disease, pheochromocytoma, adrenal tumors and parathyroid diseases.

Contact Bill Levesque, science writer, UF Health, 352-273-6160, or Rossana Passaniti, media relations coordinator, UF Health, 352-273-8569

 

Kenneth Cusi, professor and chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, UF College of Medicine

Research interests: Type 2 diabetes, obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease particularly in Hispanics

Cusi’s grant-funded work focuses on cutting-edge research in adult endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, both on clinical and basic research aspects related to the role of obesity and lipotoxicity in the development of Type 2 diabetes and its complications, in particular, the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. He serves as vice-president and co-founder of Children in Need, Inc., an organization created to assist disadvantaged children and their families in third world countries that aims to increase awareness about diabetes and other endocrine conditions and improve patient care.

Our fight with fat: Why is obesity getting worse?  

Hospitals work to improve inpatient diabetes management  

Contact Bill Levesque, science writer, UF Health, 352-273-6160, or Rossana Passaniti, media relations coordinator, UF Health, 352-273-8569

 

Michael Haller, professor and chief, pediatric endocrinology, UF College of Medicine

Research interests: Predicting, preventing and reversing Type 1 diabetes

Haller uses a team approach that emphasizes translating findings from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside. He believes that combination or cocktail therapy approaches are necessary to effectively intervene in the autoimmune process, and as a result, his research efforts are focused on combining cell therapies, immunomodulating drugs and beta-cell regenerative agents. A recipient of the Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Haller has served as principal investigator of studies aimed at using autologous umbilical cord blood stem cells as a potential therapy for Type 1 diabetes.

Contact Bill Levesque, science writer, UF Health, 352-273-6160, or Rossana Passaniti, media relations coordinator, UF Health, 352-273-8569

 

Desmond Schatz, medical director, UF Diabetes Institute; associate director, UF Clinical Research Center; professor and associate chair of pediatrics, UF College of Medicine

Research interests: Prediction, prevention, history, genetics and immunopathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes; management of Type 1 diabetes in children and adolescents

Schatz is principal investigator on several Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and National Institutes of Health projects including a JDRF-funded study aimed at reversing Type 1 diabetes using cord blood.

He serves as a co-PI on a grant to investigate the immunopathogenesis of Type 1 diabetes and is co-PI for the NIH-funded international newborn genetic screening (TEDDY) program in North Central Florida. He has served in numerous capacities for the American Diabetes Association and was its president of Medicine and Science in 2016.

Contact Bill Levesque, science writer, UF Health, 352-273-6160, or Rossana Passaniti, media relations coordinator, UF Health, 352-273-8569

 

ENGINEERING

Cherie Stabler, professor and associate chair for graduate studies, Department of Biomedical Engineering, UF Wertheim College of Engineering; affiliate member, UF Diabetes Institute

Research interests: Prediction and prevention of Type 1 diabetes

Stabler’s research centers on engineering translational biomaterial platforms for cell-based therapies for Type 1 diabetes, seeking to develop bioactive materials capable of protecting cells from immunological attack, providing 3-D support of the transplanted cells, presenting cues for guiding positive host cell remodeling and releasing therapeutic agents. Through the fabrication of novel biomaterials capable of actively interfacing with the host, she seeks to optimize the graft environment to favor the long-term survival and function of the implanted cells.

Contact Bill Levesque, science writer, UF Health, 352-273-6160, or Rossana Passaniti, media relations coordinator, UF Health, 352-273-8569