Alliance for Diabetes and Obesity Research (ADORE)

Principal Investigators

Research Priority Area

  • Diabetes/Obesity

How to Join

We are setting up a RedCap system and will share a link when available. In the meantime, please contact a principal investigator listed above. The executive committee will review each applicant prior to membership approval.

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

  • Suzanna Attia, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Pediatrics
  • John A. Bauer, PhD, Professor – Department of Pediatrics
  • 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
  • Erin Haynes, PhD, Professor – College of Public Health
  • Barry Inabnet, MD, Chair and Professor – Department of Surgery
  • Eva Kalaitzoglou, MD, Assistant Professor – Department of Pediatrics/Endocrinology
  • Philip A. Kern, MD, Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Science  – Department of Internal Medicine
  • 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
  • Barbara Nikolajczyk, PhD, Professor – Department of Pharmacology/Nutritional Sciences
  • Julie Pendergast, PhD, Assistant Professor – College of Arts and Sciences
  • Charlotte Peterson, PhD, Endowed Professor – College of Health Sciences
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • R. Grace Walton, PhD, Assistant Professor – College of Health Sciences
  • Lovoria Williams, PhD, Associate Professor – College of Nursing​
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