Leading the Way in Diabetes and Obesity Research

Physicians and scientists from across the nation will gather at the University of Kentucky on May 13, to discuss the latest trends and current findings in obesity and diabetes research at the Barnstable Brown Obesity and Diabetes Research Day.

The event, hosted by the Barnstable Brown Kentucky Diabetes and Obesity Center and the UK Graduate Center for Nutritional Sciences, will feature research poster presentations and nationally prominent physician-scientists discussing the latest trends and current findings in obesity and diabetes research.

"UK has taken on a leadership role in obesity and diabetes research," said Dr. Philip Kern, director of the center and professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UK College of Medicine. "This annual event provides an opportunity for our investigators to share advances in clinical and laboratory research with other top scientists in the field from around the country."

Research Day takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. in the Biological Pharmaceutical Complex Building at 789 South Limestone. The day is divided into two symposium sessions, starting at 9 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., with a lunchtime poster session from 12:30-2:45 p.m. Each session will feature a presentation by a nationally prominent obesity or diabetes researcher and podium presentations from selected abstracts by UK investigators. An awards reception will take place at the Hilary J. Boone Center immediately following the final presentations.

Highlighted findings presented by UK researchers include a study by Sage Kramer from the Departments of Pediatrics, Cardiology and Physiology, which used high-definition magnetic resonance imaging of mouse hearts to learn more about the ways that obesity leads to cardiovascular diseases. Kramer observed reduced synchrony of contraction and enlargement of the ventricle in mice made obese from consumption of a high-fat diet.

Prabhakara Nagareddy, from the UK Saha Cardiovascular Research Center, will present research looking into why patients with diabetes have a high incidence of coronary artery disease and heart attacks. Nagareddy's studies found that high blood glucose in mice causes the bone marrow to release large numbers of white blood cells into the blood, which then become located in arterial plaque and release additional proteins that promote an inflammatory state. Correction of the high blood glucose reduces the bone marrow release of cells. These studies provide a link between diabetes and heart disease involving inflammation.

The Barnstable Brown Kentucky Diabetes and Obesity Research Center is a nationally and internationally recognized Center of Excellence in diabetes and obesity research. The center unites clinical care, research, education and advocacy to provide a comprehensive program to improve the lives of people living with diabetes.

The center receives more than $22 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and other funding agencies, including the Barnstable Brown family. Research focuses on prevention and treatment of diabetes and targets end-organ complications of diabetes. Research moves from the laboratory to the clinical research center and ultimately to the clinical setting when treating patients.

Multiple studies and clinical trials are in progress, led by physicians and scientists from the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, Health Sciences, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health. This multidisciplinary approach attacks diabetes and its related problems from all sides, while simultaneously improving coordination of care for patients with diabetes.

More information, including the complete Research Day program, is available online at http://www.mc.uky.edu/odrd/.