Our overall goal is to minimize the burden of health disparities by identifying the best screening and therapeutic options for individuals with insulin resistance or diabetes by unraveling the complex association of race, glucose and insulin metabolism, and pathogenesis for diabetes. Our current projects are aimed at understanding whether earliest pathological features of diabetes, obesity, and insulin resistance differ by race/ ethnicity or with age.
Risk for diabetes and heart disease is two-fold higher in individuals of African descent compared to white populations. Population specific analyses also identify women and adolescents as having the highest rates of newly diagnosed diabetes and obesity. Our program of research aims to identify the contribution of biological and lifestyle factors to risk for diabetes in minority populations. Although many socio-economic and demographic factors contribute to the increased cardio metabolic risk in African descent populations, biological determinants of insulin resistance and diabetes may also play a primary role in diabetes disparities. In African descent populations, epidemiological markers of hepatic insulin resistance suggest that there may race related biological differences in pathways to development of insulin resistance and diabetes. Our current protocols will evaluate racial/ethnic differences in hepatic and whole body glucose and insulin metabolism in order to distinguish modifiable risk factors that could help minimize the burden and consequence of diabetes worldwide.
Applying our Research
Need for Further Study
Our future research will focus on elucidating the best diagnostic and therapeutic options for children and adolescents with obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. Further research is also needed to determine whether current therapeutic strategies for diabetes and obesity should be individualized by race/ ethnicity.