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University of Alabama at Birmingham

The Diabetes Research and Training Center (DRC) focuses on developing new methods to treat, prevent, and ultimately cure diabetes and its complications. The DRC is a multi-disciplinary operation with faculty researchers from UAB's Schools of Health Professions, Medicine, and Public Health, among other units. It operates in collaboration with the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center to promote excellence in diabetes research and patient care. The DRC supports research in the areas of pathology, animal physiology, human biology, metrics and health services research, and community research. It is one of sixteen NIDDK-sponsored diabetes research and training centers in the U.S.


The primary mission of the center is to promote excellence in diabetes research. The UAB DRC offers extensive laboratory, personnel, and programmatic resources in support of diabetes related research. The DRC encompasses five research core facilities: REDOX Biology, Animal Physiology, Human Physiology, and Interventions & Translation Research. The resources and facilities attendant to each core are described in detail in the individual core descriptions. There are many university-wide resources available to researchers and trainees of the DRC. Our center is part of this rich environment and is key to our success and productivity. Over the past 6 years, the DRC has galvanized the UAB research community around the study of diabetes resulting in an increase in membership from 115 to 179, and a 32.5% increase in extramural research funding. Through these efforts, the center ultimately endeavors to decrease diabetes morbidity/mortality, and to provide an outstanding environment for training and career development in diabetes research.

Our specific aims are to:

  1. Facilitate and enhance diabetes research by sponsoring research core facilities expressly required by our investigator base. The five research cores cover a broad translational spectrum: Bioanalytical REDOX Biology, Animal Physiology, Human Biology, and Interventions & Translation Cores.
  2. Augment diabetes research via a pilot & feasibility grant program that will emphasize innovation, translation, and career development of highly promising junior investigators.
  3. Sponsor an integrated Enrichment Program that promotes a cohesive environment for an outstanding multi-disciplinary investigator base, which will enhance learning, collaboration, collegiality, and innovation.
  4. Build upon the progress achieved over our first 4 years by responding to the evolving needs of our investigators and through leadership that impels new ideas and lines of investigation.
  5. Emphasize research, training, and outreach that are responsive to the needs of our trainees, achieve better outcomes for our patients, and lessen the high burden of diabetes in our community and nation.
  6. Leverage the resolve of UAB leadership, substantial institutional commitments, and generous philanthropy from our community to further impel the development of a pre-eminent center of diabetes research excellence in the heart of the Deep South. Our DRC is located in a community with the highest rates of diabetes in the US, and unites investigators around common themes to study diabetes in the context of cardiometabolic disease.

Research Cores

Animal Physiology & Phenotyping
UAB Animal Physiology CoreKirk M Habegger PhD
The Animal Physiology Core (APC) provides for diabetes related phenotyping in small animal models. Services offered include the assessment of body composition, energy balance, glucose homeostasis, cardiovascular assessment, imaging, and transgenic animal models.
Clinical & Translational Studies
UAB Human Physiology CoreBarbara Gower PhD
Because diabetes is both a metabolic and a vascular disease, the Human Physiology Core was designed to promote interactions and collaborations oriented towards better understanding the pathophysiology of diabetes and cardiometabolic disease risk.