University of Illinois at Chicago Annual Diabetes and Obesity Research Day

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

The 10th annual University of Illinois at Chicago Diabetes and Obesity Research Day will take place online on Tuesday, October 11th, 2022. The focus of this year’s meeting is on Cardiometabolic Disease. The program will provide a clinical overview and address mitochondrial mechanisms, fuel selection and cardiac efficiency, metabolic phenotyping, effects of SGLT2 inhibitors, macrophage polarization, nutrient timing and clinical impact of timed feeding on cardiometabolic health.

Research by junior faculty and trainees will be highlighted by talks by Emerging Investigators and a virtual poster session, including online presentation and awards for selected posters.

Invited Speakers & Schedule: see below.

Registration Link:

Breakout Rooms:


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

• 10:00 – 11:00 AM: Online live poster session

• 12:00 -1:00 PM:

Dale Abel, MD, PhD: William S. Adams Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Chair and Executive Medical Director, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine and UCLA Health, “Cardiometabolic Disease: Overview and Novel Mitochondrial Mechanisms”

A native of the West Indies, former Rhodes Scholar, past-president of the American Diabetes Association, Dr. Abel’s research has been continually funded by the NIH since 1995. His pioneering work on glucose transport and mitochondrial metabolism has guided his research into molecular mechanisms responsible for cardiovascular complications of diabetes. Dr. Abel’s laboratory has provided important insights into the contribution of mitochondrial dysfunction and aberrant insulin signaling to heart failure risk in cardiometabolic disease.

• 1:10-1:40 PM:

Gary Lopaschuk, PhD – Distinguished University Professor of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. Treating Heart Failure by Optimizing Cardiac Energy Metabolism

Dr Lopaschuk’s research focuses on the regulation of fatty acid oxidation in the heart, and the mechanism by which alterations in fatty acid oxidation contributes to heart disease, including cardiovascular disease in diabetic. He has characterized key enzymes important in the regulation of cardiac fatty acid oxidation and he also is developing novel therapeutic strategies to optimize energy metabolism in the heart to help prevent and treat heart failure.

• 1:30-2:10:

Ravi Shah, MD, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University, Metabolic phenotyping of cardiovascular risk: insights from clinical studies

Dr. Shah is a clinical-translational scientist with a focus on studying the translational epidemiology of cardiometabolic diseases (CMD) . His major interests include the study of precision phenotypes of metabolic disease (clinical, imaging, and molecular) and their relation to cardiovascular disease, uniting small translational studies and large cohort epidemiologic approaches to understand the relation between metabolism and cardiovascular health.


• 2:10-2:50: Emerging Investigators

  • 2:10-2:30:

Carlos Santos-Gallegos, MD, PhD, Instructor, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt Sinai, NYC, “SGLT2 Inhibitors in HFpEF”



  • 2:30-2:50:

Francis Alenghat, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Cardiology, University of Chicago. 
“Macrophage Activation and Polarization in Cardiometabolic Disease”. Dr. Alenghat’s research focuses on macrophage biology and the inflammatory component of atherosclerosis. His clinical interests and academic pursuits lie within the fields of cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology, with a special focus on vascular biology and inflammatory pathways in atherosclerosis.

• 2:50-3:00 PM: Break

3:00-3:30 PM:

Martin E. Young, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Alabama, “Fine Tuning Nutrient Intake Timing for Cardiometabolic Health”

A graduate of Oxford University, Dr. Young’s research focusses on how environmental factors, including time-of-day and nutrition, influence cardiovascular health and disease. Ongoing studies examine the role of the circadian clock within the cardiomyocyte and circulating nutrients, such as glucose and fatty acids, in mediating dramatic time-of-day-dependent oscillations in cardiac performance.


• 3:30 – 4:00 PM:

Krista Varady, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago, “Cardiometabolic benefits of intermittent fasting (clinical studies)”

Based on her early studies in mice (PMID: 17607017 and 17495119), Dr. Varady has done leading research focusing on the efficacy of intermittent modified fasting and timed feeding for weight loss and metabolic disease reduction in people with obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Funded by the NIH and American Heart Association, she has published over 100 publications on this topic, and has authored a book for the general public, the “Every Other Day Diet”.


• 4:00 PM: Poster Awards


#1. Munoz, Marcos David; Mccann, M; Kim, P; Liew, CW, Short-term low protein diet ameliorates metabolic dysfunction in diabetes lipodystrophic mice. Dept Physiology and Biophysics, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.

#2. Vazana, Stephanie, DMD1, Sydney Woods1, Shareef Dabdoub, PhD2, Eric Taylor, PhD3, Marcelo Correia, MD4, MSc, PhD, Benjamin O’Donnell, MD5, Jess Fiedorowicz6, MD, PhD, Helena Laroche, MD7, Sukirth Ganesan, BDS, PhD1. Mapping the metabolome-immune-axis of metabolic syndrome in the oral cavity. 1Department of Periodontics, University of Iowa College of Dentistry, Iowa City, IA, and 2College of Dentistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

#3. Hui Ye1, Yanlin He2, Maya Kota1, Pei Luo1, Leslie Saenz1, Valeria C. Torres Irizarry1, Nirali Patel1, Nimisha Antony1, Devin Dixit1, Pingwen Xu1, 27 Hydroxy-cholesterol acts on Estrogen Receptor Alpha Expressed by POMC Neurons to Modulate Energy Homeostasis, 1Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Illinois at Chicago, and 2Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, Baton Rouge, LA.

#4. Lee, Samuel, Alberto Diaz-Ruiz, Jose Muratalla, Jose Cordoba-Chacon, PPARg expression in hepatocytes increases hepatic fibrosis independent of steatosis when NASH is induced after established diet-induced obesity, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL.

#5. Margarert C Schultz, Sneha Adusumilli, Jyotsna S. Jagai, and Robert Sargis, University of Illinois at Chicago, Impact of Transportation-related Environmental Quality Metrics on Diabetes in Urban/Metropolitan Counties in the United States, University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine and University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, Chicago, IL.

#6. Ermis, Ebru, Isabel Casimiro, Ryan M. Anderson, Raghavendra G. Mirmira, Role of the BLT2 Receptor in Macrophage Migration, Kovler Diabetes Center and Department of Medicine, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

#12. Mariah Calubag1,2,3, Reji Babygirija1,2,3, Chung-Yang Yeh1,2, John Michael1,2, Ryan Matouska1,2, Dudley Lamming1,2,3, Short-term dietary branched-chain amino acid restriction has persistent metabolic health benefits, 1Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison and William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, Madison, WI, and 3Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI.

#13. Reji Babygirija1,2,4, Shelly Shonsella1,2, Mariah Calubag1,2,3, Michaela Murphy1,2,Victoria Flores1,2, Cara Green1,2, Heidi Pak1,2 John Michael1,2, Ryan Matouska 1,2, and Dudley W. Lamming1,2,3, Beneficial effects of protein restriction on metabolic health, cognition and neuropathology in an early onset model of Alzheimer’s Disease, 1Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, 3Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI, and 4Graduate Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.

2021 Emerging Investigator Awards

Emerging Investigator Award: Lindsey Treviño, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Population Sciences, City of Hope, “Early Life Exposures and Health Inequities: Epigenomic Reprogramming and Metabolic Dysfunction”


College of Nursing
Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition
The Center for Clinical and Translational Science
The Chicago Diabetes Research and Training Center