2019 Grant Recipients
Ebony Boyce Carter, MD
Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Targeted lifestyle change group prenatal care for obese women at high risk for gestational diabetes: a randomized controlled trial
Medical complications that develop during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, can affect the long-term health of mothers and their children. While most women with gestational diabetes return to normal immediately after delivering their babies, they remain at significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the years immediately following pregnancy. Dr. Carter has designed an innovative and practical intervention, called Targeted Lifestyle Change Group Prenatal Care (TLC), that can be integrated in routine prenatal care. She will compare this approach to traditional prenatal care in a community of women who are predominantly low-income, African American, have high levels of obesity, and are at high-risk for developing gestational diabetes, to determine whether it improves health outcomes for both women and their children. If successful, this effort has the potential to mitigate the transgenerational risk for type 2 diabetes in high-risk populations.
Matthew J. Webber, PhD
University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN
Hypoglycemic rescue with glucose-responsive glucagon delivery devices
Low blood glucose levels are a serious threat to people with diabetes—especially during sleep, when they are less aware of the condition and less able to safely counteract it by ingesting glucose. This danger leads to sleepless nights for patients and their caregivers. Using his background in materials science, Dr. Webber has outlined an innovative approach to proactively prevent the threat of low blood glucose. His idea centers around the development of materials that can both sense glucose levels and respond to low glucose by automatically releasing the hormone glucagon. This approach will be automated and integrated into patient-friendly delivery devices, offering promise to provide a safe and care-free way to prevent potentially lethal glucose lows while mitigating a serious physical and psychological burden for people with diabetes.
Sarah A. Tishkoff, PhD
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Genetic risk factors for adult-onset diabetes in populations of African Ancestry
Populations of African descent, including African-Americans, have high rates of type 2 diabetes, but we don’t yet understand exactly why. Dr. Sarah Tishkoff will use her expertise in the genetics of Africans to unravel the mysteries underlying this health disparity. She has identified three separate ethnically diverse African populations living indigenous lifestyles with widely different rates of diabetes. Through analyzing the differences in their DNA, immune systems and metabolism, Dr. Tishkoff seeks to understand why some indigenous populations are protected from diabetes, while others are at high risk. Understanding the risk factors for diabetes in populations of African ancestry is critical for developing better, more precise diagnostics and therapeutics and eliminating disparities in diabetes.