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From left, Carlo Malabanan, Michelle Griffith, M.D., Lynley Pound and Christopher Ramnanan, Ph.D., were honored at the Diabetes Day research symposium. (photo by Joe Howell)

Diabetes trainees, staff honored at research symposium

BY: MELISSA MARINO

12/09/2010 - At the recent “Diabetes Day” research symposium, three Vanderbilt trainees were named Vanderbilt Scholars in Diabetes in recognition of their potential as future leaders in diabetes research.

• Clinical fellow Michelle Griffith, M.D., received the award in the M.D. postdoctoral category. Working with mentors Shubhada Jagasia, M.B.B.S., and Madan Jagasia, M.D., Griffith is examining risk factors for post-transplant diabetes in patients undergoing stem cell transplantation for treatment of cancer. She is also working to develop a model that will help identify patients at highest risk for poor blood sugar control in the hospital.

• Lynley Pound received the award in the graduate student category. Working with Richard O'Brien, Ph.D., Pound is using a mouse model to characterize how variations in genes encoding the enzyme IGRP/G6PC2 and the zinc transporter ZnT-8 increase susceptibility to elevated fasting blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetes risk, respectively.

• The award in the postdoctoral category went to Christopher Ramnanan, Ph.D., research fellow in the lab of Alan Cherrington, Ph.D. Ramnanan is evaluating the importance of brain insulin signaling and hepatic (liver) AMPK signaling to the liver's ability to tightly control blood glucose levels, work that could clarify the therapeutic potential of these pathways in diabetic care and treatment.

Also at the symposium, Carlo Malabanan, research assistant in the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center, received the 2010 Robert Hall Award for Service to the Diabetes Center, an award named in memory of Rob Hall, Ph.D., a longtime member of the Diabetes Center and the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

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