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Winter 2008 Newsletter

Message from the Director

We are pleased to announce that the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) have funded the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center (MDRTC) for another five years. The funding will allow the MDRTC to operate “core” scientific facilities that can be shared by researchers involved in studies of diabetes and related disorders and to provide “seed money” for early-stage research projects in U-M laboratories and clinics.

The MDRTC was first funded in 1977 and has been successfully refunded six times. Of the Diabetes Research and Training Centers (DRTC) previously funded, Albert Einstein University, the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, and Washington University (St. Louis) were refunded. Two new DRTCs were added: Johns Hopkins University University of Maryland (PIs: Fred Wondisford and Alan Shuldiner) and University of Alabama-Birmingham (PI: Tim Garvey).

At a time when competition for federal research dollars is fierce and the need to address diabetes is urgent, we’re extremely pleased to be awarded this funding. We extend our thanks to those researchers at the University of Michigan for their outstanding contributions to the success of the MDRTC and look forward to even greater progress in understanding, preventing, diagnosing and treating diabetes and its complications.

Citing the MDRTC in publications is critical for continued funding

In order to assure recognition of NIH support for your research, all publications that use MDRTC core services or result from research funded by a Pilot and Feasibility Grant under this grant must cite the grant as a contributing source of support. Failure to acknowledge MDRTC support in publications could seriously compromise our position with NIH and NIDDK. We ask that you include in the Acknowledgement section of manuscripts the following:

“This research used the ___________ core(s) of the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center supported by NIH Grant DK20572.”


“This research was supported by a Pilot and Feasibility Grant from the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center (NIH Grant _60-DK20572)”.

Please also remember to cite the MDRTC whenever you receive advice from any of the Core directors or co-directors, when you receive financial support from the MDRTC for the use of a core that is shared with other centers (i.e. Animal Phenotyping Core, Vector Core, Protein Structure Core, etc.) and as appropriate, in collaborative studies where you might not be the senior author writing the paper.

The MDRTC is a critical resource for UM, especially junior investigators. Competition for Center renewals is getting increasingly fierce, and it’s important that we be able to continue making the case that we’re productive. Citing the MDRTC in our papers is important in that regard, and we appreciate your help.

MDRTC Cores have been reorganized and offer new services

The MDRTC recently restructured some of its cores based on advice from MDRTC core users and various advisory groups. The major changes to the core structure are outlined below.

Animal Phenotyping Core
This core, under the direction of Martin G. Myers, MD, PhD, provides physiologic assessment of rodent models, GTTs, clamp studies, glucose turnover, tissue-specific glucose and fatty acid uptake, lipid production and clearance studies, and isolation of pancreatic islets. A CLAMS unit is available to monitor food intake, activity, and metabolic rate. The capability of measuring body composition in awake animals will be added soon.

The core will feature a new piece of equipment in early 2008: a Bruker minispec, which provides accurate, repeatable, and facile measurements of body adiposity in living animals without anesthesia. It is capable of rapidly analyzing body composition, including free water, in unanesthetized rats and mice. The model selected is also capable of being calibrated to unique dummy standards for the analysis of specific lipid signatures to increase accuracy and information obtained. The Animal Phenotyping Core is in the process of determining recharge rates for use of this equipment.

Hybridoma Services
With the start of MDRTC's new grant (12/01/07), the Hybridoma Core is no longer a stand-alone core in the MDRTC. Services such as immunization of mice, fusion of B lymphocytes with myeloma cells to create hybridomas, subcloning and cryopreservation of hybridomas, antibody isotyping and production of ascites in mice will continue to be provided by the Rheumatic Diseases Core Center’s (RDCC) Hybridoma Core with subsidies provided through the MDRTC Cell and Molecular Biology Core.

The Cell and Molecular Biology Core
The Cell and Molecular Biology Core under the direction of Ronald J. Koenig, MD, PhD, continues to provide training and consultative services, and access to relevant technologies and equipment including real time PCR, a Bio-Rad phosphorimager, and a Bio-Rad Fluor-S Max Multi-imager (that captures digital images of chemiluminescent signals, most commonly in Western blots). The Core also provides access to discounts at the Cancer Center microarray facility, and the U-M Transgenic Animal and Vector Cores. Discounts at three new shared cores are being offered: Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC) Recombineering Core; Center for Chemical Genomics; and UM Functional Genomics Core (shRNA lentiviral plasmids directed against essentially all human and mouse genes that can be used for gene silencing studies).

Morphology and Image Analysis Core
This core, under the direction of John A. Williams, MD, PhD, continues to provide service, consultation, collaboration and access to cell imaging instrumentation for morphological studies including quantitative cellular and subcellular localization by fluorescence and confocal microscopy including immunohistochemistry, fluorophotometric ion analysis, FRET, FLIP, FRAP, and photoactivation of caged fluorophores. The Core supports microscopy for both fixed and live cell preparations.

Peptide and Proteomics Core
The Protein Core was expanded to include proteomics in MDRTC’s competitive grant application and was renamed the Peptide and Proteomics Core. Phil Andrews, PhD, is the core director; Henriette Remmer, PhD, is the co-director of the core. This core provides discounts on the services currently offered by the University of Michigan Protein Structure Core (accessed through Henriette Remmer) and by the Michigan Proteome Consortium (accessed through Phil Andrews). These include: expertise in complex peptide synthesis, amino acid analysis, electroblotting, mass spectrometry, protein cleavage and sequencing, electrophoresis, protein modification, protein expression, MuDPIT analysis, 1D and 2D capillary HPLC, and proteome informatics. Caps are now in place on the amount of total discount available per member per year.

Biostatistics and Economic Analysis Core
The Biostatistics core under the direction of Morton B. Brown, PhD was expanded to include economic modeling. The core provides services in experimental design, data entry, data management, economic analysis, disease modeling, quality control and data analysis.

Measurement Core /Chemistry Laboratory
Under the direction of Rodney A. Hayward, MD, the core continues to provide consultation, collaboration and training for translational research directed at evaluating approaches to improving diabetes health outcomes, enhancing understanding and overcoming barriers that inhibit adoption and dissemination of state-of-the-art diabetes care.

Under the direction of Donald Giacherio, PhD, the Chemistry Laboratory continues to provide Biochemical assays at a reasonable cost for MDRTC members. The Chemistry Laboratory is in process of ordering a replacement for the Roche Cobas MIRA Plus analyzer now used to perform testing such as the lipid profile, glucose, hsCRP, urine microalbumin, creatinine, and hemoglobin A1C. The laboratory expects to have the new analyzer in place and operational in the 1st quarter of 2008.

The MDRTC Chemistry Core Lab will offer three additional assays beginning in March 2008; Ghrelin, PTH, and 25-hydroxy Vitamin D. Ghrelin is a hormone produced by the cells of the stomach that acts to stimulate appetite. PTH is the polypeptide hormone produced by the parathyroid glands that acts in multiple ways to increase serum calcium levels. 25-hydroxy Vitamin D is the precursor for the biologically active hormone 1,25-dihydroxy Vitamin D. Deficiency of Vitamin D is quite common, and is associated with increased risk for osteoporosis and secondary hyperparathyroidsm. Instructions for the collection, storage, submission of samples, and pricing for these three new assays will be posted on the MDRTC website in February.

Behavioral, Clinical and Health Systems Intervention Research
Under the direction of Robert M. Anderson, EdD, the core continues to provide services in the design, implementation and evaluation of diabetes related behavioral, clinical and health systems intervention research. With the addition of new faculty member Meng Tan, MD, the core will expand its support for clinical research. Dr. Tan comes to the MDRTC from Eli Lilly and Company. His most recent position with Eli Lilly was the Senior Medical Director of the Diabetes ad Endocrine Platform Team. Dr. Tan’s clinical interests are in diabetes, lipoprotein metabolism and cardiovascular disease.

Four Pilot and Feasibility Grants Awarded

The MDRTC Grants Advisory Council met in early December 2007 to review 22 applications for P/FS studies from researchers across the University of Michigan. Twelve applications were from biomedical researchers; 10 were from prevention and control investigators. The Grant Council recommended four researchers each receive $50,000 in funding for one year. The awardees are as follows:

Maria Dolors Sans Gili, PhD, Research Assistant Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, “Insulin, Diabetes and the Regulation of Pancreatic Digestive Enzymes. “
Ming Liu, MD, PhD, Research Investigator, Internal Medicine, “Dominant negative effects of misfolded proinsulin in pancreatic beta cells. "
Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, PhD, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Associate Research Scientist and Academic Program Director, Biophysics Research Division, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, “Solid-State NMR Studies on Human Islet Amyloid Polypeptide and its Role in Beta-Cell Membrane Disruption.”
Allison Rosen, MD, MPH, ScD, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine and Health Management and Policy Clinical Director, Center for Value-Based Insurance Design, “Trends in the Cost of Diabetes Care in the United States: 1996-2004.”

Diabetes Interdisciplinary Studies Program Grant Awarded

The MDRTC and the Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center (MCDC) combined forces to fund one application for a Pilot and Feasibility Study which promotes interdisciplinary collaboration among researchers. Of the 9 DISP applications received, 5 were in biomedical research and 4 in prevention and control. The MDRTC Grants Advisory Council recommended one proposal be funded at $100,000 for one year. The awardees are as follows:

Annette Chang, MD, Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine, Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes and Michael Kilbourn, PhD, Radiology, “Evaluation of Human Pancreatic B-cell Mass with [11C] Dihydrotetrabenazine (DTBZ) Radioligand”.

Diabetes Cost Calculator

The American Diabetes Association released its latest cost analysis report, Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2007. The cost calculator can be accessed at and can be used to determine diabetes costs in a state or a congressional district.
The national cost of diabetes in the U.S. in 2007 exceeds $174 billion according to a study commissioned by the American Diabetes Association (ADA). This estimate includes $116 billion in excess medical expenditures attributed to diabetes, as well as $58 billion in reduced national productivity. People with diagnosed diabetes, on average, have medical expenditures that are approximately 2.3 times higher than the expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes. Approximately $1 in $10 health care dollars is attributed to diabetes. Indirect costs include increased factors such as absenteeism, reduced productivity, and lost productive capacity due to early mortality. The estimated prevalence and cost of diabetes in Michigan follows.

The Estimated Prevalence and Cost of Diabetes in Michigan

Prevalence of diagnosed diabetes:
Medical cost of diabetes: $3,471,000,000
Indirect Cost: $1,955,000,000
Total Cost: $5,426,000,000

The total cost of diabetes for people in Michigan in 2006 is estimated at $5,426,000,000. This estimate includes excess medical costs of $3,471,000,000 attributed to diabetes, and lost productivity valued at $1,955,000,000. Of the 10,096,000 Michigan residents in 2006, approximately 571,000 have been diagnosed with diabetes.

News and Events

Silva Arslanian, MD, Richard L. Day Professor of Pediatrics, Director, Pediatric Clinical and Translational Research Center and Director, Weight Management and Wellness Center, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh will be presenting two seminars on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008. The details of the seminars follow:

Pediatric Grand Rounds
Tuesday April 22, 2008
8:00 – 9:00 AM
F2305- MCHC Auditorium
Title: Type 2 diabetes in Youth: what have we Learned?

Pediatric Endocrinology Seminar
Tuesday April 22, 2008
9:30-10:30 AM
D1201 MPB
Title: PCOS in Adolescents

Winter Symposium

Mark your calendars: The MDRTC will be sponsoring a biomedical symposium on Saturday April, 26, 2008.
The Ray A. and Robert L. Kroc Lectureship in Diabetes

Saturday, April 26, 2008
Biomedical Science Research Building

8:30 a.m. Set up posters/Coffee and muffins
9:00 a.m. Philipp E. Scherer, Ph.D., Gifford O. Touchstone, Jr. and Randolph G. Touchstone Distinguished Chair in Diabetes Research, Director, Touchstone Diabetes Center, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
"The Adipocyte: Local and Systemic Impact"
10:00 – 10:30 am Jiandie Lin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Research Assistant Professor, Life Sciences Institute, University of Michigan
"Dissecting Transcriptional Circuitry in the Control of Energy Metabolism”
10:30 – 11:00 a.m. Matthias Kretzler, M.D., Associate Professor, Division of Nephrology, Center for Computational Medicine and Biology, University of Michigan
"Molecular Phenotyping of Diabetic Nephropathy"
11:00 – 11:30 a.m. Randal J. Kaufman, Ph.D., Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Medicine, Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine and Biological Chemistry, Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Michigan
"Beta Cell Death at the Crossroads of Oxidative Stress and ER Stress"
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Poster Session and Buffet Lunch


We invite you to present a poster of your work in the area of diabetes, its complications and related endocrine and metabolic disorders at this Symposium

Accolades to MDRTC Members

Under the leadership of Dan Clauw, MD, the University of Michigan will receive a $55 million Clinical and Translational Science Award. The CTSAs are part of a national initiative to encourage and speed collaboration and interdisciplinary research for therapies that improve human health.

Eva Feldman MD, PhD, Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology, Professor of Neurology, was appointed the first director of the A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute. The Institute was established in September through a $22 million gift from the retail pioneer whose name it bears. Dr. Feldman will continue as one of the first five Taubman Scholars - U-M scientists who receive unrestricted funding from the institute’s endowment to help their teams pursue fundamental research on the causes, treatment and prevention of a broad range of human diseases.

Julie C. Lumeng, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Disease appeared on the NBC Nightly News and the CBS Evening News in November to discuss a study recently published in Pediatrics. The study found a link between the amount of sleep an elementary-school-age child gets each night and their risk for being overweight. Dr. Lumeng was a recipient of a MDRTC Pilot and Feasibility award in 2006.

Richard R. Neubig, PhD, Pharmacology Department accepted an invitation to serve as the Chairperson of the Molecular and Integrative Signal Transduction Study Section, Center for Scientific Review at the NIH.

William, H. Herman, MD, MPH, Stefan S. Fajans/GlaxoSmithKline Professor of Diabetes,
Professor of Internal Medicine and Epidemiology and Director of the MDRTC, was presented with the Dean’s Clinical and Health Services Research Award in early December.

Allison B. Rosen, MD, MPH, ScD, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine, Medical School and Assistant Professor of Health Management and Policy, School of Public Health, received the 2007 BCBSM Foundation McDevitt Excellence in Research Award in the area of policy research. The award was issued for Dr. Rosen’s research entitled “Cost-Effectiveness of Full Medicare Coverage of Antiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors for Beneficiaries with Diabetes” published in Ann Intern Med. 2005:143:89-99.

In Memory

David M. Kurnit, MD, PhD died Wednesday, January 30, 2008. Kurnit completed his B.S. degree, Suma Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Brooklyn College and his MD and PhD degrees from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Upon completing residency and fellowship programs, David became an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. He was then recruited to the University of Michigan where he served as a Howard Hughes investigator and full professor with dual appointments in Pediatrics and Human Genetics. During his career, David published over 100 articles in peer reviewed medical journals, pioneering ground-breaking research in the field of Genetics. Dr. Kurnit was a long standing member of the MDRTC most recently interested in identifying markers for early diagnosis of kidney disease. Throughout his career, David devoted himself to supporting the academic achievement of the students and researchers who worked in his lab.