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The Impactful Diabetes Research Career of Eva Tsalikian, MD

February 2022

 On January 3rd, 2022, we celebrated the career of FOEDRC faculty member Dr. Eva Tsalikian on the occasion of her well-earned retirement. For over 4 decades, Dr. Tsalikian has been tireless in her pursuit of better treatments for children with diabetes. Her research work earned her the 2011 Mary Tyler Moore & S. Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Diabetes Research award and she was the 2013 Honoree at the Eastern Iowa Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation gala. She has published over 120 research articles, nearly all of which are focused on diabetes. Her early work focused on amino acid metabolism in diabetes. However, in the early 1990s she refocused her research efforts on improving clinical care for persons with diabetes. Here are some highlights of her many impactful contributions to diabetes research. (1) In the early 2000s, she published a series of articles that contributed to the advancement of continuous glucose monitors for use in diabetes treatment. (2) In another series of publications, she helped determine that out-of-control diabetes is associated with structural brain changes in children. Importantly, this finding helped spur major changes to the blood sugar goals of diabetes therapy in children. (3) In 2019, she was part of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that a medication called teplizumab can significantly delay the onset of type 1 diabetes. This work was a major step forward in the development of strategies to prevent type 1 diabetes. Impressively, during her productive research career, Dr. Tsalikian wore several other hats. She was a physician who provided clinical care to children and young adults with diabetes. She also built a thriving Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes clinical division at the University Hospital, starting essentially with only herself. It was for all of these reasons that we honored Dr. Tsalikian on January 3rd. However, we had another reason to celebrate. In retirement, as an emeritus faculty member, Dr. Tsalkilian will continue to be involved in diabetes research, helping advise the clinical group she founded as they move forward working to develop better treatments for diabetes.