Current Projects

Identifying miRNA-mediated mechanisms driving the protective effect of metformin on beta-cell function

The purpose is  to elucidate mechanisms underlying treatment effects of clinically relevant medications on beta-cell indices in murine islets and human beta-cells. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression by short non-coding RNAs such as microRNAs (miRNAs) may play a role in the beta-cell response to treatment. We will test the hypothesis that medications that act at the level of the islet will alter levels of islet cell miRNAs, decreasing some (e.g., miR-7) and increasing others (e.g., miR-375), leading to greater beta-cell number and/or enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) using locked nucleic acid (LNA)-based miRNA mimics.

Circulating miRNA Signatures of Beta-Cell Response to Metformin or Insulin in Youth with Dysglycemia

The goal of this two-year project is to identify circulating miRNAs that are related to insulin resistance and beta-cell failure despite pharmacotherapy in youth with prediabetes or early type 2 diabetes.

Recently Concluded Projects

Circulating MicroRNAs and Hyperglycemia

This five-year project addressed the role of a novel biomarker—plasma microRNA levels—in the development of hyperglycemia and insulin resistance, which lead to diabetes. The goal was to advance understanding of diabetes pathogenesis, improve early detection, and facilitate new interventions aimed at diabetes prevention.

The contribution of diabetes to risk of adverse outcomes among Veterans with COVID-19  

The purpose of this project was to quantify the association of diabetes with risk of adverse outcomes (e.g., hospitalization, ICU admission, and death) in SARS-CoV-2 infection and to determine whether these associations are mediated by common cardiovascular comorbidities of diabetes.