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Ohio State’s Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center (DMRC) research faculty includes experts in diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolism who are nationally and internationally recognized for their research efforts to advance health care for patients.

The DMRC faculty and staff provide expert consultation services, as well as tailored education and training programs to provide patients with effective, cutting-edge treatment and therapy.

Our research faculty are listed below, along with a brief summary of their specific areas of expertise.

Research Faculty

Willa Hsueh, MD

The Hsueh lab has strong translational efforts and focuses in immunometabolism as it relates to adipose tissue changes with high fat diet and effects on inflammatory driven complications such as atherosclerosis, fatty liver disease, and cardiac and renal function.

Their goal is to develop unique methodology to prevent pro-inflammatory immune cell changes such as a vaccine or specific anti-inflammatory agents. In addition, she is working with the Mexican American Community in Texas to preserve islet cell function to prevent diabetes.


Martha Belury, PhD, RD

The Belury group seeks to understand how bioactive components of the diet, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols, affect obesity and muscle wasting conditions. In particular, they are evaluating how n-3 and n-6 fatty acids and naringenin will alter AMP-K mediated signaling to restore metabolism that may be dysregulated in muscle and adipose tissues.

Dr. Belury directs the Specialized Lipid Laboratory in the Ohio State College of Arts and Sciences.


David Bradley, MD

Dr. Bradley's research focus is on the complex mechanisms responsible for the metabolic alterations associated with obesity such as Type 2 Diabetes, sarcopenia, and cognitive dysfunction during the aging process. His research utilizes stable isotope tracers and detailed tissue analyses to evaluate cellular and whole-body substrate metabolism in humans. He is particularly interested in developing a more complete understanding of the contribution of inflammation to these disorders.


Lei Cao, PhD

The Cao Lab is particularly interested in brain control of metabolism and identification of neural targets as novel therapy for Type 2 diabetes. The work has important implications for obesity and cancer and their link to depression and production of brain hormones.


Nicholas Denko, MD, PhD

The focus of the Denko lab is to understand the mechanisms and significance of metabolic reprogramming that occurs during tumorigenesis. Tumor cell metabolism relies on the preferential consumption of glucose and glutamine at the expense of mitochondrial activity. We investigate the basic cell biological characteristics of tumor metabolism and the effects of hypoxia in shaping the metabolic program.


Kathleen Dungan, MD, MPH

Dr. Dungan’s interest is in clinical therapeutics and monitoring of diabetes. The broad goals of her research are: (1) to investigate the determinants and consequences of hyperglycemia in a defined inpatient population; (2) to define the optimal glucose level for the population at risk; and (3) to examine ways of safely providing glycemic control to meet glucose targets.


Denis Guttridge, PhD

Dr. Guttridge’s laboratory studies the NF-kB family of transcription factors and the role they play in cell growth and differentiation, particularly skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle maturation involves growth arrest and fusion of progenitor myoblasts into terminally differentiated myofibers.

These progenitor cells have tremendous capacity to undergo regeneration in response to injury. Their work suggests NF-kB may be relevant in muscle diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy and cancer conditions including cachexia, rhabdomyosarcoma, and obesity.

Dr. Guttridge directs the Center for Muscle Health and Neuromuscular Disorders (OSU/NCH).


Jianjie Ma, PhD

Research in the Ma lab focuses on molecular medicine with programs in tissue repair and regenerative medicine applied to muscular, cardiovascular, lung and renal diseases. They are also developing biomarkers for cancer, aging and diabetes.


Peter Mohler, PhD

Research of the Mohler group focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying ion channel and transporter targeting in cardiac and insulin-secreting beta cells.

In particular, they are interested in the role of membrane-associated ankyrin family of polypeptides in the targeting and function of ion channels and transporters. A first line of work involves the role of ankyrin-B in the regulation of insulin secretion.

Dr. Mohler is the Director of the Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute.


Bradley Needleman, MD

Dr. Needleman’s expertise is in metabolic and bariatric surgery, as well as other advanced minimally invasive operations. His program is geared toward providing the right operation for the right patient with life-long care to optimize results.

Because the mechanistic effects of bariatric surgery on metabolic disease states are unknown, further research in this field will prove crucial to tailoring treatment options to the individual patient.

Dr. Needleman is the Director of the Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery.


Sabrena Noria, MD, PhD

As a metabolic and bariatric surgeon, a major research goal is to identify predictors of bariatric surgery-induced diabetes remission as a step towards tailoring surgery to fit specific patients. The gastrointestinal tract produces a myriad of hormones which control appetite, insulin secretion and action, and inflammation.

Dr. Noria's team is trying to understand how specific gut hormones regulate metabolic action and the impact of different types of bariatric surgery on the secretion of these important metabolic regulators.


Kwame Osei, MD

Dr. Osei is a national leader in understanding metabolic syndrome, islet cell dysfunction, and type 2 diabetes in African Americans. He also has a strong and long-standing interest in islet cell encapsulation, administration of encapsulated islets, and their preservation.


Amer Rajab, MD, PhD

Dr. Rajab leads OSU in pancreatic and renal transplantation. He has led the team in porcine islet cell harvest, encapsulation, and administration into primate models of type 1 diabetes. This work holds promise in the cure of type 1 diabetes and other diseases associated with loss of islet cells.


Subha Raman, MD

Dr. Raman’s translational and clinical research programs focus on early detection to guide proactive management of cardiovascular health and disease.

Many endeavors leverage the capabilities for noninvasive tissue characterization and angiography via magnetic resonance and computed tomography. Current activities targeting diabetes address myocardium at risk, altered muscle energetics and fat quantification.


Matthew Ringel, MD

Dr. Ringel’s laboratory is focused on molecular mechanisms involved in thyroid cancer invasion, metastasis, and cellular metabolism. They have an exciting program in development and testing of new drugs for thyroid cancer therapy.

Dr. Ringel is Co-Director for the Arthur G. James Comprehensive Cancer Center Thyroid Cancer Unit.


Larry Schlesinger, MD

The Schlesinger lab is interested in master regulators of macrophages that dictate their phenotype and immunologic responses in tissue sites, particularly in the lung. They have a major focus on the nuclear receptor PPAR-gamma, a key metabolic, inflammatory mediator.

Dr. Schlesinger is the Director of the Center for Microbial Interface Biology and the Medical Scientist Training Program.



Steven Schwartz, PhD

The Schwartz lab is interested in metabolic profiling, targeted and untargeted metabolomics related to food and nutrition for health. They focus on bioavailability, metabolism, and physiological significance of carotenoids, isothiocyanates, isoflavones and other phytochemicals as they relate to oxidative stress, metabolic disorders and cancer prevention and control.

Dr. Schwartz is the leader of the Food and Nutritional Metabolomics for Health Discover Theme.



Chandan Sen, PhD

Dr. Chandan K. Sen is a tenured Professor of Surgery, Executive Director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Wound Center and Director of the Ohio State University's Center for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Based Therapies. He is also the Associate Dean for Research at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

A major part of Dr. Sen’s research program addresses diabetic complications as it relates to wound healing outcomes and inflammatory disorders. Dr. Sen’s work is listed in Google Scholar.

Dr. Sen is the Executive Director of the OSU Comprehensive Wound Center and Director of the OSUWMC Regenerative Medicine & Cell-Based Therapies.



David Symer, MD, PhD

Dr. Symer and his lab members engineered mouse models to mimic a human developmental disease caused by mis-splicing of pre-mRNAs containing minor class introns. The mice with certain combinations of mutations in the small nuclear RNA gene RNU4ATAC display several phenotypes similar to human MOPD I including primordial dwarfism, and they also develop maturity-onset diabetes, similar to monogenic “MODY” (maturity-onset diabetes of the young).

Initially, mouse pancreatic beta cells develop normally in embryogenesis, but then they begin to drop out at weaning age, leading to progressive, severe diabetes but without autoimmune infiltration in the pancreas. The lab is now working to identify the downstream, mis-spliced target genes involved in beta cell development, survival and maintenance, and they also plan to study human patients to identify potential links between RNA mis-splicing and diabetes pathogenesis.



Jeff Volek, PhD, RD

A focus of Dr. Volek’s research over the last 15 years has been the use of nutrition to manage insulin resistant conditions, especially the use of well formulated very low carbohydrate diets.



Ruoning Wang, PhD

Dr. Wang’s group’s fundamental research interest is to understand how eukaryotic cells integrate various extracellular and intrinsic signals/cues to dictate cellular fate (cell proliferation death, growth and differentiation).

In particular, they focus on the interplay between cell metabolic programs and cell signaling cascades in patho-physiological contexts such as germ cell development, tumorigenesis and immune response.



Noah Weisleder, PhD

Dr. Weisleder’s long-term research interests center on the study of skeletal and cardiac muscle physiology and how disruption of the cellular processes of membrane repair and cellular signaling lead to disease.

His research makes use of several cell based models, isolated tissue assays and different animal models of cardiovascular disease, cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy.



Kelly Wrighton, PhD

Dr. Wrighton, is an expert in microbiota, having developed bioinformatics platforms for in depth analyses of microbiota and used these platforms to genomically characterize microbial function in the gut, soil, and a variety of other sources. Her work in mouse and humans impacts multiple disease states, so her lab has emerged as a valuable OSU resource.



Jian Zhang, MD

Dr. Zhang studies molecular mechanisms of T cell activation and differentiation, and innate immune responses regulated by E3 ubiquitin ligases Cbl-b and Nedd4.

Understanding the roles of these E3 ubiquitin ligases in innate and adaptive immunity will lead to the development of therapeutic invention for human diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, asthma, and infectious diseases.



Ouliana Ziouzenkova, PhD

The Ziouzenkova laboratory studies the role of vitamin A metabolites in regulation of fundamental pathways controlling thermogenesis and other metabolic responses in men and women and develops therapies for the treatment of metabolic syndrome.