The ultimate goal of this research is to understand the causes of diabetes, obesity, and diabetic complications and to understand the molecular processes that lead to these diseases.
The Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch conducts research on the causes and correlates of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and diabetic complications. My research has focused on the epidemiology of these diseases, particularly on genetic and molecular aspects, in American Indian and other populations. Genetic and non-genetic risk factors for diabetes, obesity, and complications of diabetes are being studied using classical techniques of epidemiology. The potential genetic causes of these diseases are also studied using the techniques of genetic epidemiology, including studies of variants in DNA in families and in populations. Studies of gene transcription, protein expression, and cellular metabolism are also being pursued. The branch is studying the effect of lifestyle interventions to promote weight loss on prevention of diabetes and its complications.
The technology for studying the genetic and molecular aspects of diabetes is continuing to improve. The greatest challenges are to develop analytical methods that allow scientists to interpret the results from these technical advances and to ensure that diverse populations are included in genomic and molecular research.