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Research

Andrew Norris, portrait

Andrew Norris, MD, PhD
Division Director
Richard O. Jacobson Chair in Pediatric Endocrinology


Division Research Investigators

A Rich Research History

The Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes has a long and rich history of research aimed at bettering the lives of children. Seminal work in our Division dates back decades. For example, in 1946, our Division began publishing groundbreaking work indicating that better glucose control prevents complications in persons with type 1 diabetes. In the 1950s-2000s, Dr. Charlie Read led studies demonstrating the safety of radioiodine thyroid ablation for treatment of Graves disease and on how moderating carbohydrate intake can help improve diabetes control

Our Ongoing Research Commitment

Our current faculty have carried on this passion to help find improved treatments and preventative strategies for endocrine disease. Our current research strengths include a focus on cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, and clinical studies of diabetes in youth. To read about our latest research updates and progress, please see the Director’s blog.

Research by Our Faculty

All of the faculty in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes are involved in research. Several of our faculty are research focused, devoting significant portions of their professional time to research endeavors. However, impressively, even our clinically focused faculty continue to help drive important research progress in our field.
 


Research Focused Faculty
 

Katie Larson Ode, MD, MS

Current research focus
Clinical studies of cystic fibrosis related diabetes.

Research biography
Dr. Larson Ode is a leading clinical researcher studying the earliest manifestations of cystic fibrosis related diabetes. In 2016, she published groundbreaking work indicating that many toddlers with cystic fibrosis experience a transient hyperglycemic phase. Dr. Larson Ode has been identified by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as an endocrine leader in their field, and has been funded to help train the next generation of doctors researching ways to better manage the many endocrine complications of cystic fibrosis. She is funded by the NIH to direct the Clinical Core of the Center for Gene Therapy of Cystic Fibrosis.


Andrew Norris, MD, PhD

Current research focusAndrew Norris, portrait
Basic and translational research aimed at understanding the mechanistic pathogenesis of (i) cystic fibrosis related diabetes and (ii) early life programming of type 2 diabetes.

Research biography
Dr. Norris maintains a basic science laboratory focused on understanding the molecular and integrated physiology that contribute to diabetes pathogenesis. He received his PhD in molecular biophysics, and the completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the renowned laboratory of diabetes researcher Dr. Ron Kahn at the Joslin Diabetes Center of Harvard University. Dr. Norris has been continually funded as a principal investigator by the NIH since 2004. He serves as the Associate Director of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, where he has helped develop a NIH T32-funded Diabetes Research Training Program. He publishes regularly in high impact journals.


Catherina Pinnaro, MD, MS

Current research focus
Clinicogenetic studies of endocrine modifiers in selected populations including Turner syndrome.

Research biography
Dr. Pinnaro is a starting research-focused physician scientist. She began her biomedical research career by successfully competing for a Doris Duke year as a medical student, during which she studied under renowned pediatric geneticist Jeffrey Murray. She then completed a residency in pediatrics and fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at the University of Iowa within the Physician Scientist Training Pathway Program. Simultaneously, she earned a master’s in Translational Biomedicine. While a fellow, she published on the genetics of 22q syndrome and created a diabetes care simulation.
 


Michael Tansey, MD 

Current research focus
Clinical studies in youth with diabetes, including studies aimed at prevention of type 1 diabetes, understanding the impact of diabetes on brain development in children, and the management of diabetes in children involved in sports. 

Research biography
Dr. Tansey has become established as a deep thinking and insightful clinical investigator focused on management and prevention of type 1 diabetes. He has participated in numerous NIH funded research endeavors and regularly publishes in leading diabetes journals.

 



Eva Tsalikian, MD - Professor Emerita

Current research focusEva Tsalikian, portrait
Clinical studies in youth with diabetes, including studies aimed at prevention of type 1 diabetes and at understanding the impact of diabetes on brain development in children.

Research biography
Dr. Tsalikian is a seasoned diabetes investigator with an impressive research résumé.  She obtained her research training in the field of diabetes at UCSF, Univ Pittsburgh, and at the Mayo Clinic. She started her faculty career at the University of Iowa where she quickly obtained NIH funding for her investigations focused on intermediary metabolism. Over the ensuing years, she established herself as a leading investigator directing clinical studies related to diabetes. She has received numerous NIH grants over the years and has published nearly 100 research articles.


Research by Clinically Focused Faculty
 

Eirene Alexandrou, MD

Dr. Alexandrou has published expertise in the areas of growth research and Turner Syndrome. 

 

 

 

 

 


Vanessa Curtis, MD

Dr. Curtis has research interests in the areas of childhood growth and of metabolic fitness in children, having published in these areas

 

 

 

 


Lauren Kanner, MD

Dr. Kanner has research interests focused on ovarian failure and polycystic ovarian syndrome in adolescents. She has published in this area.

 

 

 

 


Luiska Pesce, MD

Dr. Pesce has a long-standing interest in thyroid disorders. During training, she studied iodide transport under famed thyroid researcher Peter Kopp at Northwestern University, leading to several publications (here is one such publication). Since joining our faculty, she has continued her thyroid focus with ongoing clinical studies. She has published on thyroid cancer and newborn thyroid screening.

 

 

 


Akhila Ramakrishna, MD

Dr. Ramakrishna has published expertise in the area of thyroid dysfunction, and has published on novel possible treatments for obesity.