Diabetes & Metabolic Diseases Research Center

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    Craig Malbon, Director

    The Diabetes & Metabolic Diseases Research Center (DMDRC) at Stony Brook is a research center established in 1985 and recognized as a category 1 center of excellence by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Dean, School of Medicine, Stony Brook. The DMDRC is responsible for many activities related to formation of a Diabetes & Endocrine Research Center as defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is a matrix-style center with faculty distributed over the entire campus as well as at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The DMDRC supports increased communication among the center’s faculty, access to jointly owned advanced centers of research techniques, and formal training opportunities funded for 25 years by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), NIH. Specifically, the Center offers multidisciplinary post-graduate training opportunities to the scientifically-trained (Ph.D.) and clinically-trained (M.D.) to acquire expertise in the study of diabetes and metabolic diseases using state-of-the-art approaches of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology. Opportunities for training include diabetes & insulin action, protein metabolism, G-protein-coupled receptor action in disease states, cell signaling, AKAPs and cell scaffolds in biology, Ras and MAP kinase regulation. Expertise is derived from 27 trainers from 9 departments with basic/clinical research in 6 major disciplines (physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, molecular biology & cell biology, biomedical engineering).  The training faculty support the tenet that a successful research career in the diverse and multifaceted area of endocrine and metabolic diseases requires a broadly-based background founded in these five major disciplines as well as a hybrid perspective which is receptive to strategies transcending the limits of one's immediate specialty.  Training is principally as participants in vigorous, supportive research programs of individual trainers as well as more broadly-based training as DMDRC members. Trainees actively participate in weekly interdepartmental seminars, minisymposia, journal clubs in specialized areas (endocrinology, cell signaling), and periodic scientific meetings where reports on original research are presented.  The trainees (8 new trainees per year) are principally medical (M.D.) or Ph.D. graduates who demonstrate a keen interest in taking advantage of these opportunities.  Emphasis is placed on the vigorous recruitment of women and underrepresented minorities to all of the Center’s training opportunities.  Trainees are selected based upon their ability to conduct original research in a careful and critical manner, the nature and quality of their thesis, publications, and/or prior work, and recommendations by outside referees.  Competitive applicants visit the campus and present a seminar during the recruitment and interview process.  Successful applicants are appointed as “Fellows of the DMDRC” and enjoy many benefits from their tenure as trainees. There are more than 100 “alumni” graduates from the DMDRC training program, many of whom are NIH-funded faculty and scientists at leading universities and biotechnology industries elsewhere in the United States. DMDRC-associated facilities include modern laboratories (>300,000 n.s.f.) equipped for original research endeavors. Unique opportunities exist for advanced training in transgenic and KO siRNA mice, proteomics (MALDI and QToF mass spectrometry) & structural biology, 2-photon microscopy & imaging analysis, fcs, microarray, MRI/PET, etc. The DMDRC program sponsors in-depth bioethics training, career building workshops, and planning for fellows as well as for postdoctoral fellows at the institution who have not been formally admitted as Fellows of the DMDRC. The DMDRC program is a combined effort of the Stony Brook School of Medicine & University Hospital, the Office of the Provost, and joint faculty from across the region.  In addition to robust NIH support, the Center enjoys strong finacial University-wide support in its on-going efforts at creating training and new approaches to the analysis and treatment of diabetes mellitus and metabolic diseases.