A team of researchers including Miguel Ramalho-Santos, Ph.D., a UCSF Fellow and member of the Diabetes Center, have reported that they have improved a technique for genetically reprogramming mouse cells to become embryonic stem cells. By over-expressing a combination of genes in mouse skin cells, the mouse cells begin to lose their adult functions and function like they did in their embryonic state.
Longtime Diabetes Center volunteers, Bobbie and Michael Wilsey, approached Diabetes Center Director, Dr. Jeffrey Bluestone, and Diabetes Teaching Center Medical Director, Dr. Martha Nolte, to express interest in supporting UCSF’s diabetes clinical efforts. All parties agreed that the most effective use of their $250,000 gift would be to establish a clinical diabetes fellowship program in the adult clinic.
When Anastasia Mavropoulos, PhD arrived at UCSF from her home in Belgium, she had already achieved an impressive record of success in studying pancreas development. Her animal model of choice in Belgium? The zebrafish – an organism that has been studied extensively in developmental biology because its embryos develop rapidly, progressing from eggs to larvae in under three days.
UCSF can count another young research star among its ranks. Michael McManus, PhD was recently awarded a $1.75 million research grant by the W.M. Keck Foundation. Each year, the foundation supports promising scientists in the country pursuing breakthrough biomedical research. McManus is rapidly becoming an expert in microRNAs - the so called “dark matter” of the genome.
Last week, a lawsuit filed by the American Diabetes Association and four Bay Area families was settled -- just in time for the start of the school year for an estimated 15,000 California kids with diabetes. Under the agreement, the California State Department of Education will require school districts statewide to assist students with their insulin and other related services.
Several Diabetes Center research associates have been doing their own version of passing the baton – or pipette – this summer as they prepare to enter prestigious graduate research or medical school programs, propelling them to careers that got much of their start in the laboratories of the Diabetes Center.
Diabetes Center Associate Director Michael German, M.D., professor in the UCSF Department of Medicine and the Justine K. Schreyer Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research, was named a 2007 JDRF Scholar – the second year in a row that a Diabetes Center researcher has received this award.
Assistant Professor Eric Rulifson, Ph.D. thinks there’s a lot to learn about diabetes from the humble fruit fly. Never mind that fruit flies have no pancreas - he is convinced that they teach us about how islet cells develop and how they might one day be grown artificially. Rulifson was initially studying wing development in fruit flies (called Drosophila melanogaster) as a post-doctoral fellow at Stanford University.
It is not just Marlene Bedrich’s patients who love her, but also her professional colleagues at the Diabetes Teaching Center – so much so that they nominated her for ambulatory care nurse of the year award, an honor she received during Nurses’ Week in May. Marlene, in turn, thinks the world of her colleagues, including her half-time assistant who is also a licensed vocational nurse, and the endocrinologists she finds at once brilliant, and humble.
Diabetes Center researcher Doug Hanahan, Ph.D., was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of his contributions to diabetes and cancer research. He joins 4,000 American fellows of this interdisciplinary research center that has studied complex and emerging policy issues since 1780.
On May 3, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced that it would renew funding for the Immune Tolerance Network, the international research consortium based at the Diabetes Center at UCSF.
The Endocrine Society is giving its highest award, the Fred Conrad Koch Award, to Diabetes Center founding member John Baxter, M.D. at its annual meeting June 2 – 5 in Toronto. The award recognizes exceptional contributions to endocrinology. The Endocrine Society is pleased to announce that John D. Baxter, M.D., is the 2007 recipient of its highest award - the Fred Conrad Koch Award.
There was a dual message in a talk at UCSF by Michael Boehnke, biostatistics professor at University of Michigan: large studies that may involve 10,000 or more patients could potentially suggest an inherited increased susceptibility. But the rapid rise in development of type 2 diabetes still needs to be addressed through diet and exercise.