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Obesity and Diabetes Research Center (Established 1994)
Director: Barbara C. Hansen
Mission: To foster interactions between scientific collaborators whose particular interest, expertise and resources can bring further insight into the earliest causal defects in the study of aging, obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and other related disorders with, as a common ground, a well-characterized primate animal model which is similar to humans in physiology and pathology; To advance research which would optimize the synthesis of large body of evidence linking a variety of chronic disorders including aging, obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and others, in order to more clearly determine causal relationships, unifying factors and explanatory mechanisms. The Obesity and Diabetes Research Center seeks to provide the widest access by qualified scientists to this unique animal resource; Through the integration of data resulting from such expert collaborations, to examine the possibility that the relationships between these often life-threatening disorders in humans may constitute a syndrome or progression, and thus, more clearly identify the onset, sequence, and interactive effects of pathogenic features as well as possible key genetic and environmental regulators of their association, as well as of their dissociation.
Principal Research Programs: The Obesity and Diabetes Research Center has established a unique colony of nonhuman primates (rhesus monkeys/Macaca mulatta) as an animal resource for studies of obesity, diabetes, and aging. The importance of this colony lies in the large number of animal which at middle and older age, and while under longitudinal study, have spontaneously developed obesity, often followed by the development of diabetes. All animals have a known age, a known medical history, and a consistent and known dietary history. The colony has been under prospective study regarding various in vivo and in vitro metabolic defects with data extending for more than 20 years for many animals. Both acute and long-term studies are carried out. Outcome variables have included altered histology and altered gene expression, as well as physiological in vivo and in vitro responses in a wide range of organs and tissues. In addition to naturally lean older animals available as controls, a subgroup of monkeys in which lean body. mass has been maintained by long-term caloric monitoring and titration is also available for comparative study. All animals have been maintained under constant dietary and environmental conditions. Thus this unique primate model affords the possibility of studies not currently possible in humans.
Training Opportunities: Educational opportunities available for: Pre-College, Undergraduate, Graduate, Professional; Field work opportunities not available; Focus: Diabetes, Obesity, Hypertension, Dyslipidemia, Feeding regulation, Appetite; Financial support is usually available; Note: Ph.D. education is through degree program in Nutrition Science, Physiology, Pharmacology, Molecular Biology, Biological Chemistry and others. Opportunities are available for short-term or long-term studies.
Number of Staff: 20
Supported Species: 3 Macaca fascicularis (long-tailed macaque), 48 Macaca mulatta (rhesus macaque)
Last Updated: 2009-06-24
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