Research

Faculty members involved in research related to our division include:

David G. Armstrong, MD, DPM, PhD, Professor of Surgery and Director, Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance (SALSA) — investigates the epidemiology, classification, and treatment of lower extremity complications of diabetes and wound healing.

Heddwen Brooks, PhD, Professor of Physiology — investigates the role of menopause and sex-related hormones on hypertension and diabetes, particularly how these diseases contribute to loss of kidney function and lead to renal failure.

Janet Funk, MD, Professor, of Medicine, Nutritional Sciences, BIO5 Institute and Physiological Sciences; Clinical Instructor, Pharmacy Practice-Science, and Research Associate — leads an NIH-funded cross-disciplinary translational research program investigating the pathogenesis and treatment of resorptive bone diseases including breast cancer bone metastases and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Dr. Funk’s current clinical research projects include a survey of dietary supplement use in the RA population and a trial of turmeric dietary supplements for treatment of RA. Current bench research projects include the development of novel models of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer bone metastases and an investigation into the utility and mechanism of action of turmeric dietary supplements in the prevention of breast cancer bone metastases. Opportunities also exist to become involved with collaborative research projects being directed by other UA researchers, including an investigation of the effects of obesity and insulin resistance on bone development in adolescent girls and a trial of turmeric dietary supplements in women suffering from fatigue following chemotherapy and radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Karen Herbst, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Departments of Medicine (Division of Endocrinology), Pharmacy and Medical Imaging — see TREAT Program listed below. Dr. Herbst trained as an andrologist during her fellowship and maintains an interest in treating testosterone deficiency in men of all ages. Her main interest is adipose tissue disorders (ATD) including painful adipose disorders, Dercum's disease (also a rare disease) and lipedema (as well as lipo-lymphedema), and the rare diseases, Madelung's disease and familial multiple lipomatosis or angiolipomatosis. Her main clinical research strives to improve our understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of and treatment options for ATDs, which includes a focus on the lymphatic system as well as natural supplements and nutrition. Her basic science research currently aims to find gene mutations in families with Dercum's disease and lipedema. Learn more at the TREAT Program website link listed below.

David Johnson, MD, Professor of Medicine. Research Interests are new diabetic drugs and Physiology of the sympathetic nervous system.

Sean Limesand, PhD, Professor of Endocrinology, studies the effects of hormonal and environmental factors of pregnancy specializing in fetal pancreas development, insulin secretion and glucose homeostasis.

Ronald Lynch, PhD, Professor in the Department of Physiology, investigates how energy metabolism is integrated with function in nutrient-sensing cells, and cells of the vasculature. These studies relate directly to understanding the development of diabetes and its many complications.

Merri Pendergrass, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine. Dr. Pendergrass currently conducts research on healthcare delivery. She focuses on practice change and how to assess and improve the quality of diabetes care. 

Leslie Ritter, RN, PhD, Professor from the Department of Neurology and the UA College of Nursing, studies the damaging effects of high-circulating glucose upon cerebral vascular tissues, and determines mechanisms by which people with diabetes suffer more severe brain injuries after a stroke.

Craig Stump, MD, PhD, Clinical Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, and Associate Professor of Medicine. Research Interests: Dr. Stump has made important contributions in the areas of skeletal muscle biology and the role of exercise and lifestyle in the etiology of insulin signaling abnormalities, and the development of the metabolic syndrome and diabetes. He has seminal papers that contribute to our understanding of the role of skeletal muscle mitochondrial function in health and disease. He also investigates the link between the renin-angiotension system and tissue resistance to insulin, and identifying biomarkers related to the risk of developing diabetes and diabetic complications. He collaborates with other University of Arizona investigators attempting to implement the Diabetes Prevention Program into specific high risk populations, and with an Arizona State University team dedicated to developing and bringing to clinical utility personal devices designed to monitor and improve metabolic health. Dr. Stump is also a site principal investigator for several pharmaceutical trials testing new medications for diabetic patients. He is in conjunction with the Arizona Proteomics Consortium, is working to identify modified protein biomarker(s) of diabetes and pre-diabetes which would lead to early diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment, Research and Education of Adipose Tissue (TREAT) Program

The Treatment, Research and Education of Adipose Tissue (TREAT) Program at the University of Arizona was launched in the fall of 2015 with $1.5 million in seed funding from the Lipedema Foundation. Lipedema is a painful adipose tissue disorder (ATD) where abnormal fat tissue accumulates predominantly on hips, thighs and buttocks — it bruises easily and cannot be lost simply by exercise or dieting. Led by world-renowned ATDs expert, Karen Herbst, MD, PhD, the program has three aims: Treat people with fat disorders; perform cutting-edge research including advanced imaging, phenotyping and basic and translational science to develop better treatment regimens; and create educational material for all health care workers to broaden awareness and improve diagnoses and treatment of these conditions.

Learn more…

Current Clinical Trials

Clinical trials often involve a research study conducted to evaluate a medical procedure or medical product, such as a drug. Not all University of Arizona studies involve drugs or interventions. Some studies use surveys or evaluate medical records to find new and better ways to help people. Others recruit healthy subjects, or controls, to better evaluate and compare results with those of non-healthy subjects.

Find current studies in these categories:

See other current studies at the UA College of Medicine

How to Participate

Whether you’re a potential candidate to participate as a patient or subject in the study, you would like to participate as a “healthy volunteer” for the control group or you’re a research or clinical professional interested in collaborating with the research team—simply contact the study coordinator listed for each individual clinical research study above.

Learn more about UAHS Research Administration...

Learn more from the UA Research Gateway site...