JDRF Center of Excellence at the University of Michigan

Current type 1 diabetes (T1D) treatment strategies assume that blood sugar is the sole driver of short- and long-term complications, like low or high blood-sugar levels; eye, kidney, heart, and nerve diseases; and brain impairment and psychosocial stress. The University of Michigan team, however, has shown that protein and fat metabolism may play a role in the development of complications.

In partnership with scientists and clinicians at the Elizabeth Weiser Caswell Diabetes Institute at the University of Michigan, JDRF-funded investigators are undertaking a comprehensive definition of T1D metabolism, with the goal of preventing or treating complications that arise from the disease. The JDRF Center of Excellence at the University of Michigan will advance scientific knowledge, translating it into better care and health outcomes for people with T1D.

These world-class researchers will undertake four projects that:

  • Determine the optimal metabolic environment for beta cell function in people who receive replacement therapy
  • Develop patient-specific profiles and advanced algorithms to guide tailored artificial pancreas technology to improve time-in-range and reduce low blood-sugar events 
  • Identify predictive markers and therapeutic targets for T1D complications
  • Discover the relationship between metabolic profiles, brain function, and psychosocial stress, to minimize the burden of mental health complications in T1D

Research Team Leaders

Project Teams

Project 1: Determine the optimal metabolic environment for beta cell function

This project seeks to fully understand the metabolic defects in beta cells and identify drug targets to be used in beta cell replacement therapy.

Project 2:  Develop advanced algorithms to guide tailored artificial pancreas technology

This project will leverage continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) data and T1D-specific metabolic data to create an improved artificial intelligence algorithm for automated insulin delivery, to remove human guesswork, provide more stable blood-sugar levels, and reduce low blood-sugar events.

Project 3:  Identify predictive markers and therapeutic targets for T1D complications

This project aims to comprehensively define the metabolic profiles across multiple T1D cohorts for a variety of organ complications, thus providing a data-driven path toward improved T1D care and reduced burden.

Additional Members

  • Heather Ascani, Nephrology
  • Jaeman Byun, Nephrology
  • Rachel Dull, Nephrology
  • Bradley Godfrey, Nephrology
  • John Hartman, Nephrology
  • Pradeep Kayampilly, Nephrology
  • Maria Larkina, Nephrology
  • Rajasree Menon, Nephrology
  • Ashutosh Phadte, Ophthalmology
  • Rebecca Reamy, Nephrology
  • Nancy Roeser, Nephrology
  • Michael Rose, Nephrology
  • Yang Shan, Ophthalmology
  • Rebecca Steck, Nephrology
  • Emily Tanner, Nephrology
  • Mark Tomilo, Nephrology
  • Chih-Hong Wang, Nephrology
  • Zachary Wright, Nephrology
  • Noel Wys, Nephrology
  • Lixia Zeng, Nephrology

Project 4: Minimizing the burden of mental health complications in T1D

Factors such as depression, anxiety, diabetes distress, and pain influence health outcomes and quality of life in people with T1D. This project uses two complementary approaches for looking at psychological and cognitive outcomes in people with T1D.

Additional Members

  • Nathaniel Putnam, Neurology
  • Evan Reynolds, Neurology

As Vice Chair of the JDRF International Research Committee, I’m thrilled that critical scientific questions are being investigated by a talented, collaborative group of scientists and clinicians in MY hometown. The answers to these questions have the power to change the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes profoundly.”

— Elizabeth Caswell, JDRF International Board of Directors

News & Blogs

  • The University of Michigan announced the establishment of the Elizabeth Weiser Caswell Diabetes Institute at Michigan Medicine in collaboration with other university schools and units.

    June 15, 2020

Support Our Work

Contact us to help us advance this critical work in curing T1D and improving lives.


Gillian Green
Vice President, Leadership Giving
JDRF
ggreen@jdrf.org