The Penn Diabetes Research Center (DRC) participates in the nationwide interdisciplinary program established over three decades ago by the NIDDK to foster research in diabetes and related metabolic disorders. The mission of the Penn DRC is to support and develop successful approaches to the prevention, treatment, and cure of diabetes mellitus. Located at and administered by the University of Pennsylvania, the Penn DRC serves over 110 diabetes-oriented investigators, primarily from Penn's Perelman School of Medicine but also from other Schools within the University as well as collaborating Philadelphia institutions including Thomas Jefferson University, Temple University School of Medicine, the Monell Chemical Senses Center, and the Wistar Institute. The Penn DERC is highly interactive and interdisciplinary, representing many basic science and clinical departments. The Research Base of the Penn DRC is organized in 4 focus groups: 1) Beta Cell Physiology and Pathology;2) Signaling by Insulin and Other Hormones;3) Obesity;and 4) Cardiovascular Metabolism and Complications. The Penn DRC facilitates and supports diabetes research in a variety of ways. Six Biomedical Research Cores facilitate the work of Penn DRC investigators: Functional Genomics Core;Islet Cell Biology Core;Mouse Phenotyping, Physiology, and Metabolism Core;Radioimmunoassay/Biomarkers Core;Transgenic and Chimeric Mouse Core;and Viral Vector Core. Collaborative research and application of emerging technologies to diabetes investigation are further promoted by the Regional Metabolomic Core at Princeton. A Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program that has been highly successful for over three decades serves to nurture new investigators and to foster new initiatives in diabetes research. A broad and intensive Enrichment Program organizes weekly Diabetes and Endocrinology Research seminars, special events, and an annual Spring Diabetes Symposium, all designed to enhance communication and collaboration of Penn DRC investigators while keeping them abreast of the latest discoveries. Penn DRC investigators mentor trainees at every level (undergraduate, predoctoral, and post-doctoral Ph.D., M.D., and combined M.D. /Ph.D), and the Enrichment Program provides a superb environment for training in diabetes research. The Biomedical Cores, Pilot and Feasibility Grant Program, and Enrichment Program are coordinated and publicized by an Administrative Component that governs the DRC. Its organizational structure, including the Director and Associate Director, Executive Committee, Committee of Core Directors, and external as well as internal advisory boards, functions to maintain the diabetes-related research at the Penn DRC at the forefront of biomedical science.
It is estimated that 25.8 million people in the United States (8.3 percent of the population) currently have diabetes, and the rate is higher among the elderly and Hispanics, Native Americans, and African-Americans. The mission of the Penn Diabetes Research Center is to prevent and cure this devastating disease and its complications through interdisciplinary basic and translational research.
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