UTHSC Professor Focuses on Early Predictors of Diabetes

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What are the factors that cause certain people to develop diabetes and others, with the same background, to remain healthy? Samuel Dagogo-Jack, MD, UTHSC professor of medicine, intends to answer that question thanks to a $2.9 million grant.

What are the factors that cause certain people to develop diabetes and others, with the same background, to remain healthy? Samuel Dagogo-Jack, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine intends to answer that question thanks to a five-year, $2.9 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. As program director for the UTHSC Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, and associate director of the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC), he is in a pivotal position to execute this study. The GCRC is one of 70 research centers located in major teaching hospitals throughout the country where investigators have the opportunity to conduct research in a clinical setting.

“We will compare two groups of people: African-Americans and Caucasians, who have one or both parents with type 2 diabetes,” explained Dr. Dagogo-Jack. “Over a five-year period, we will repeatedly assess changes in body composition, diet and exercise habits, insulin sensitivity and secretion, fat cell-derived hormones, as well as a variety of risk predictors.”

African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and Native Americans are known to suffer disproportionately from diabetes compared to Caucasians. The exact mechanisms and timing of the ethnic and racial differences in the development of diabetes are not well understood.

“Dr. Dagogo-Jack’s research will provide the medical community with invaluable information on ethnic and racial differences in diabetes occurrence and risk factors,” said Abbas E. Kitabchi, PhD, MD, professor of medicine and molecular sciences, and director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. “The results of this study could significantly broaden the horizon of diabetes prevention, particularly among African-Americans,” Dr. Kitabchi observed.

In addition to his academic position at UTHSC, Dr. Dagogo-Jack serves as director of the Fellowship Training Program in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. In his work at the UTHSC General Clinical Research Center, he heads the adult unit. Dr. Dagogo-Jack is board-certified in internal medicine, as well as endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. He provides clinical service as an attending physician at the Methodist University Hospital and at the Regional Medical Center (The MED).

Dr. Dagogo-Jack’s previous academic appointments include: Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis.; King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Braithwaite Memorial Hospital & University of Port Harcourt College of Health Sciences, Port Harcourt, Nigeria; and University of Newcastle School of Medicine, Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K., Department of Medicine.

Dr. Dagogo-Jack received his medical degree from the University of Ibadan Medical School, Ibadan, Nigeria, and completed residency and fellowship training in internal medicine and endocrinology at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, U.K., and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis. In addition to his new project, Dr. Dagogo-Jack serves as the principal investigator for another landmark NIH diabetes study, the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Control (DCCT/EDIC).