Alliance for Diabetes and Obesity Research (ADORE)

Principal Investigators

Research Priority Area

  • Diabetes/Obesity

How to Join

Contact Allison Walters 

Meeting Times

The second Wednesday of each month, 3-4 pm est. 

Summary

Kentucky's adult obesity rate has climbed dramatically over the last two decades. The state now has the fifth highest adult obesity rate in the nation – 36.6 percent, up from 21.7 percent in 2000 – and the third-highest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17. Obesity is far more complicated than a simple accumulation of fat. The metabolic changes that occur with obesity result in an increase in cardiovascular risk factors, poor bone quality, and insulin resistance. This last complication is directly related to 13.8 percent of Kentucky’s adult population having diabetes.

With support from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine Alliance Research Initiative, the Alliance for Diabetes Research (ADORE) will bring together a transdisciplinary team of investigators at the University of Kentucky to focus on obesity and diabetes, conditions that contribute substantially to the chronic disease burden of our state’s citizens.

The five principal investigators of ADORE are John Fowlkes, MD, professor, department of pediatrics and director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center; William B. Inabnet III, MD, chair, department of surgery; Philip Kern, MD, professor, department of internal medicine and director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science; Barbara Nikolajczyk, PhD, professor, department of pharmacology and nutritional sciences; and Charlotte Peterson, PhD, College of Health Sciences. Each has served as principal investigator or co-investigator on National Institutes of Health research grants and research contracts, and all have experience in building on scientific research to create new therapies and procedures for patient care.

Obesity is far more complicated than a simple accumulation of adipose tissue. The metabolic changes that occur with obesity result in insulin resistance, an increase in cardiovascular risk factors, inflammation in many tissues, poor bone quality, and lipotoxicity of muscle and the liver. Hepatic lipid accumulation leads to steatohepatitis, a type of fatty liver disease which is a leading cause of cirrhosis. Abnormalities in muscle lead to insulin resistance and poor physical function. Inflammatory changes in adipose, muscle, liver, and blood may be an important cause of many obesity-related conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.

Future research directions will include surgical interventions for weight reduction coupled with new findings that will lead to personalized and targeted therapies for the treatment of obesity-related comorbidities. In response to recognized research gaps in knowledge and the need for more research in this focus area as it relates to health care disparities in Kentucky, the ADORE Alliance has been established. ADORE will bring together a transdisciplinary team of senior and junior investigators at the University of Kentucky to leverage a broad spectrum of metabolic research talent to focus on obesity and diabetes as they contribute to the chronic disease burden of our citizens.

Alliance Members

  • Susan Amelang, PA-C – Department of Pediatrics
  • Donna Arnett, PhD, Dean – College of Public Health
  • Suzanna Attia, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Pediatrics
  • Makenzie Barr, PhD, Assistant Professor – College of Agriculture
  • John A. Bauer, PhD, Professor – Department of Pediatrics
  • Clay Bunn, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Pediatrics
  • Kenneth Campbell, PhD, Professor – Department of Physiology
  • Jody Clasey, PhD, Associate Professor – College of Education
  • Bernard Evers, MD, Director Markey Cancer Center – Department of Surgery
  • Brian Finlin, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Kyle Flack, PhD, Assistant Professor – College of Agriculture​
  • John Fowlkes, MD, Professor – Department of Pediatrics/Endocrinology
  • Christopher Fry, PhD, Associate Professor – College of Health Sciences
  • George Fuchs, MD, Professor – Department of Pediatrics
  • Gregory Graf, PhD, Professor – College of Pharmacy
  • Zhenheng Guo, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Erin Haynes, PhD, Professor – College of Public Health
  • Terry Hinds, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Barry Inabnet, MD, Chair and Professor – Department of Surgery
  • Eva Kalaitzoglou, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Pediatrics/Endocrinology
  • Wendy Katz, PhD, Scientist – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Philip A. Kern, MD, Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Science  – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Analia Loria Kinsey, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Kate Kosmac, PhD, Assistant Professor – College of Health Sciences
  • James Lee, MD, Associate Professor – Department of Radiology
  • Francesc Marti, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Surgery
  • John McCarthy, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Physiology
  • Gia Mudd-Martin, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor – College of Nursing
  • Amy Meadows, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Psychiatry
  • Margaret Murphy, PhD,  Dietician Consultant – Department of Pediatrics
  • Barbara Nikolajczyk, PhD, Professor – Department of Pharmacology/Nutritional Sciences
  • Sabire Ozcan, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry
  • Kevin Pearson, PhD, Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Julie Pendergast, PhD, Assistant Professor – College of Arts and Sciences
  • Charlotte Peterson, PhD, Endowed Professor – College of Health Sciences
  • Aurelia Radulescu, MD, Associate Professor – Department of Pediatrics
  • Vivek M. Rangnekar, PhD, Professor – Department of Radiation Medicine
  • Cetewayo Rashid, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Pharmacology/Nutritional Sciences
  • Scott Roth, MD, Professor – Department of Surgery
  • Susan Smyth, MD, PhD Division Chief – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Samir Softic, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Pediatrics/Gastroenterology
  • Marlene Starr, PhD, Associate Professor – Department of Surgery
  • Jamie Sturgill, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Hollie Swanson, PhD, Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Lisa Tannock, MD, Professor – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Kathryn Thrailkill, MD, Regular Faculty – Department of Pediatrics/Endocrinology
  • Crystal Totten, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Surgery
  • Shuxia Wang, PhD, Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
  • Lovoria Williams, PhD, Associate Professor – College of Nursing​
  • Frederique Yiannikouris, PhD, Assistant Professor – Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences
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