Update from the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

The following is a guest post from Ayotunde Dokun, MD, PhD, FACE, Director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. It is the final installment of an ongoing 2019 series of division updates.

The Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism continues to excel as leaders in the field of endocrinology, in research, educational and clinical practice.

Our faculty members are regional and national leaders in the field of Endocrinology. Department Chair and division member E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, currently serves as the President of the Endocrine Society. Sue Bodine, PhD, was elected to serve on the leadership team of the American Physiological Society as a Counselor. She is also the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Physiology and was awarded the Edward F. Adolph Distinguished Lectureship of the American Physiological Society Environmental and Exercise Physiology Section. Mark Yorek, PhD, was recently named chief editor of the Journal of Diabetes Research. Amal Shibli-Rahhal, MD, MS, was selected as part of a small group of Endocrine program directors to work on a task-force to examine ACGME Milestones 2.0. I currently serve on the National Clinical Care Commission, a commission appointed by Department of Health and Human Services to review all federal programs related to diabetes care and its complications.

Dr. Abel
Dr. Bodine
Dr. Yorek
Dr. Shibli-Rahhal

Clinical Updates
Our clinic volume and productivity continue to increase under the leadership of Janet Schlechte, MD, as clinical director. In addition to my arrival, our division added new clinical faculty and staff in FY19 and FY20 including Ellie Lingo, ARNP, and Lisa Morselli, MD, PhD.

Dr. Schlechte
Ellie Lingo
Dr. Morselli

Joseph Dillon, MD, and Thomas O’Dorisio, MD, have been critical in the success of the Neuroendocrine Tumor (NET) Program. We are extremely proud of their successful application and certification as a NET Center of Excellence from the European Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (ENETS). This Center of Excellence is the first and only one in North America. Dillon serves as the Clinic Director of the Neuroendocrine Tumor Clinic and O’Dorisio serves as the Associate Clinic Director.

Dr. Dillon
Dr. O’Dorisio

Building on the work of Cardiovascular Medicine’s Allyn Mark, MD, and others, our division is leading the effort to establish a comprehensive weight management program at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. This is a multidisciplinary effort that is bringing together stakeholders from Bariatric Surgery, Endocrinology, General Internal Medicine, Nutrition, and Mental Health to name a few. Individuals involved include myself, General Internal Medicine’s Helena Laroche, MD, and Endocrinology’s Marcelo Correia, MD, MSc, PhD. Our team aims to build bridges with the goal of providing comprehensive care to even more persons struggling with obesity. The program is currently recruiting an ARNP who will see outpatients in clinic.

Nolan & Collier
Sarah Nolan, Melissa Collier

Two members of the Division of Endocrinology were on the team that developed a new quality and safety procedure related to insulin treatments and more stringent glycemic level checks during colon surgery. Sarah Nolan, physician assistant, and Melissa Collier, RN, nurse practitioner in collaboration with Endocrine faculty, assisted with developing a glycemic control protocol that contributed to a 40% reduction in the rate of surgical site infections during colon surgery.

Research Updates
Members of our division are also involved in cutting-edge basic, translational, and clinical research in the field of Endocrinology. Many are nationally recognized as leaders in their area of research interest. Christopher Adams, MD, PhD, is a national leader in studies of skeletal muscle atrophy and therapeutic interven­tions for skeletal muscle atrophy in obesity and type 2 diabetes. As mentioned above, O‘Dorisio and Dillon are co-directors of the SPORE award, the only National Cancer Institute SPORE Award dedicated to NETs in children and adults. Yumi Imai, MD, has made major contributions to understanding the mechanism behind pancreatic beta cell failure in type 2 diabetes.

Over the last year our faculty and staff had over sixty publications, including a manuscript from Sam Stephens, PhD, titled “Chromogranin B regulates early-stage insulin granule trafficking from the Golgi in pancreatic islet β-cells,” an image from which was on the cover of the Journal of Cell Science.

Dr. Adams
Dr. Imai
Dr. Stephens

Our research program saw great achievements, with the following faculty receiving grants in the last year:

  • E. Dale Abel, OPA1 an Estrogen-Mediated Modulator of Platelet Hyperactivation, NIH R61
  • E. Dale Abel, Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE): Professional Development, Endocrine Society
  • E. Dale Abel, Strategically Focused Research Network – Cardiometabolic Health with a Focus on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, AHA SFRN
  • Christopher Adams, Novel Signaling Pathways Underlying Skeletal Muscle Atrophy, NIH R01
  • Christopher Adams, Development of Novel Small Molecule Therapies for Skeletal Muscle Atrophy, Emmyon, Inc.
  • Christopher Adams, Molecular Mechanisms of Age-related Muscle Loss, VA Merit
  • Antentor Hinton, Jr., PhD, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2019 Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship Awardee, National Academy of Science
  • Brian O’Neill, PhD, Regulation of Muscle Mitochondrial Protein Homeostasis by Insulin/IGF-1/FoxO Signaling, VA Merit
  • William Sivitz, MD, Mitochondrial-function in muscle and fat cells, Iowa Chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles (FOE)
  • William Sivitz, FOE Diabetes Research Center (FOEDRC) Seed Award Grant, FOEDRC
Dr. Hinton
Dr, O’Neil
Dr. Sivitz

Educational Updates and Achievements
Our division also includes leaders in education at the local and national levels. Shibli-Rahhal is the recipient of the M2/PA2 Teacher of the Year award. Imai serves as the course director for our annual Advances in Diabetes and Obesity Management regional Continuing Medical Education program, while I serve as course director for the Diabetes and Obesity Management course for the National Medical Association (NMA).

The division recently hosted the NIH Network of Minority Health Research Investigators (NMRI) annual mid-west regional meeting. The NMRI is a section of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) section and brings together senior investigators to help mentor and serve as role models for junior investigators.

We continue to strive to improve in all areas of our mission includ­ing clinical care, research and education. As such, we have ongoing efforts to recruit additional clinicians interested in general endocrinology practice, neuroendocrine disease, neuroendocrine tu­mors, diabetes, and obesity. We are also working diligently to add physician-scientists and scientists with interest in clinical, population, basic, and translational research.

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