With our 75th Scientific Sessions right around the corner (speaking of, we hope to see you there, or you can follow #2015ADA!), we’re taking time to mark the occasion with our new “Why I am a diabetes researcher” series.
Today we hear from two more diabetes researchers. Join us as they share their journeys and insights into the past, present and future of diabetes research.
Dr. Christoph Buettner hails from Germany. He earned MD and PhD degrees from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich. After some residency training in internal medicine at the Klinikum Innenstadt Hospital in Munich, he came to the U.S. to complete a research fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, residency in internal medicine at Bellevue Hospital and Harbor Health Care System, New York University and a fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Montefiore Hospital and Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
He is currently Associate Professor of Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Bone Diseases and the Associate Director of Type 2 Diabetes Research at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York. Here, he explains his commitment to diabetes:
“My father has just recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. He also has been morbidly obese for more than two decades. Besides having a predisposition for type 2 diabetes and a love of good food, I have been fascinated by the quality of the research in the field of diabetes.
“The progress in our field has been astounding. A particular interesting area I find the connection of neurobiology and metabolism that has become more appreciated after the discovery of the hormone leptin in 1994. I am amazed on a daily basis by all the publications that highlight the potent role that the brain plays in controlling metabolism. To me this interconnection between the brain and the periphery is the modern version of the ancient theme of body and mind interplay.
“We live in a point of time where sophisticated methods allow us to probe old questions on an unprecedented level of analysis and it is a thrill to participate in this undertaking. The career development award will allow me to extend my studies into the control of innate immunity by the brain. It also is critically important to support my lab and the people that work with me.
“I also cannot stress enough how important the support is that the American Diabetes Association provides to scientists that have dedicated their work to metabolism and diabetes. In times of shrinking NIH budgets this support is essential and therefore I am happy to support the Association in any way I can, whether it is by reviewing grants for the Association, papers for the scientific journals such as Diabetes, organizing meetings or educating colleagues and the public or riding the Tour de Cure.”
Dr. Kieren Mather earned his bachelor’s and medical degrees at the University of Calgary in Canada. His residency training was conducted at the University of British Columbia and Fellowships in Endocrinology and Metabolic Research were conducted at the University of Calgary and Indiana University. He is currently Professor, Department of Internal Medicine at Indiana University.
Here, he explains his commitment to diabetes:
“My research focus is on vascular disease in diabetes, and I have been involved in diabetes research from the earliest stages of my research training. One of the defining awards for my career was an American Diabetes Association Career Development Award, which provided an important springboard to my current career. With the help of this head start, I have found good success in contributing to advances in our knowledge of micro and macrovascular disease in diabetes, and knowledge of how diabetes prevention contributes to reductions in these important diabetes complications.
“My personal expertise is in the field of complications. In my opinion, some truly groundbreaking advances have been made recently using molecular studies, and a number of these now need to be formally tested in clinical settings. Such studies should provide real advances regarding the prevention of microvascular complications. Regarding preventing macrovascular complications, it is my opinion that these advances will prove to be necessary but not sufficient, as the pathogenesis of macrovascular disease reflects a number of features of insulin resistance and diabetes beyond hyperglycemia. Pre-clinical and physiological studies still need to be done to better understand the interactions of factors in this multifactorial process, so as to better understand where the upstream ‘branch points’ are.
“By addressing key upstream steps to block multiple paths to disease, hopefully we can find a therapeutic approach which is not only necessary but sufficient to prevent macrovascular disease. Clinical testing of these notions will be a real challenge in the context of what is currently known about the prevention of macrovascular disease, and will need a careful and thoughtful approach to study design.”