The Section of Diabetes and Endocrinology is very active in both clinical and basic science research. Research is regarded as the foundation of the Section's academic and intellectual activity, and is considered essential as a driving force for excellence in our clinical and educational programs, and a core component of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center. There is a strong emphasis on promoting an integrated research effort bringing together clinical and basic scientists, and on establishing collaborations with other investigators on campus and in the community. The Section promotes research through its three regular weekly seminars (one clinical, one basic, one combined), and through annual meetings, particularly Diabetes Research Retreat which is held each fall.
In late 2007, two important five-year NIH Program Grants were awarded for diabetes research. The first, a “Center for Biologic Research Excellence” was established under the leadership of Dr. Ma with an application entitled “Mentoring Diabetes Research in Oklahoma.” The second, in partnership with the OU College of Public Health and led by Drs. Neil Henderson (PI) and Timothy Lyons (co-PI), established the “Oklahoma Center on American Indian Diabetes Health Disparities.” Both of these awards will promote broad-based diabetes research within our Section and within the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center.
Clinical research is pursued by our entire clinical faculty (Drs. Lyons, Kem, Scofield, Baker, Lane, Azar, Gosmanova and Lim), and fellows, often in studies that are collaborative with basic scientists and with community partners. Many involve partnerships with colleagues in the Children’s Program and the OU Tulsa Program of the Diabetes Center. Research involvement by our clinical fellows is a core component of their training. Fellows are encouraged to enroll in a 3-year program with one year of dedicated research activity. Clinical trials are conducted through our Clinical Trials Unit.
Basic science research is conducted in approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of laboratory space in the Basic Science Education Building. In the past six years, the Section has brought more than 70 extra-mural peer-reviewed research grants to the OUHSC campus. Research groups are led by faculty members: Drs. Lyons, Kem, Scofield, Le, Yu and Xu. Much of this work addresses mechanisms for vascular damage in diabetes, specifically small vessel damage that underlies diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy, and large vessel damage that causes premature heart attacks, strokes, and amputations (accelerated atherosclerosis). The basic science research program collaborates with many departments and disciplines on and off campus, and collaborations with clinicians are emphasized to promote translational research.