Research Training

The Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism has a substantial research component, encompassing both basic cellular and molecular as well as patient-oriented clinical research endeavors. Division faculty members engaged in these pursuits are well-respected and solidly funded, with grant support from the National Institutes of Health, other federal agencies, private organizations, and industry.

In addition to meeting frequently on an ad hoc basis, faculty members gather weekly for the scheduled Endocrine seminar series. Approximately 80 percent of these seminars are devoted to topics at the forefront of investigation in Endocrinology and Metabolism. The remaining 20-25 percent are true "work-in-progress" sessions by investigators in the newly formed, interdepartmental and multidisciplinary Diabetes Research Group, which brings together basic and clinical researchers not only from the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, but also from other Divisions within the Department of Medicine ( e.g. Rheumatology, Nephrology), as well as from other departments within the Medical Center (Cell Biology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Ophthalmology, Physiology/Neuroscience, Structural Biology, Radiology, and Environmental Medicine).

Several key faculty members of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism are active in grant-supported bench research. These include Drs. Herbert Samuels, Veronica Catanese, and David Kleinberg.

Dr. Samuels' laboratory is nationally and internationally recognized for its investigation of the mechanism of action of thyroid hormone, and conserved elements of gene regulation by members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily. He and his group have defined DNA-protein interactions and protein-protein interactions that regulate control of gene transcription in response to thyroid hormone and retinoic acid. Dr. Samuels' interests extend to delineation of basic molecular mechanisms involved in thyroid hormone resistance syndromes and interaction of the T3-T3 receptor complex with the HIV-1 promoter.

One of the two prime foci of Dr. Catanese's laboratory is investigation of the pathogenesis of HIV protease-inhibitor associated lipodystrophy and hyperlipidemia using both molecular, biological and clinical/translational approaches. She and her group are engaged in dissecting the pathways signaling the hypertrophic vs. sclerotic phenotypes in mesangial cells, characertizing and isolating an IGF-dependent BP4 protease, and defining the mechanism by which IGF-I promotes TGF-beta activation in the kidney.

Dr. David Kleinberg's laboratory has a long-standing, productive interest in control of mammary gland development, growth, and neoplasia by growth hormone, estrogen, and components of the intramammary IGF axis. He and his group have been responsible for separating the effects of prolactin from those of growth hormone on the mammary gland, and for identifying a paracrine role for the IGF system in both normal and abnormal mammary growth.

Drs. Catanese, Kleinberg, and Stephen Richardson are also principle investigators in several NYU and multicenter clinical research trials. Both Dr. Catanese's and Dr. Richardson's clinical research interests are focused on metabolism and diabetes. Dr. Catanese's group is conducting a pilot study designed to assess the effects of thiazolidinediones (and activation of the PPAR-gamma nuclear receptor system) on protease-inhibitor-associated hypertriglyceridemia. Dr. Richardson serves as principal investigator on several multicenter studies on newer therapies for type 2 diabetes and macrovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Dr. Kleinberg has been engaged for several years in multiple studies, both individually-initiated and multicenter, evaluating new methods for detecting and treating mild and recurrent acromegaly and adult GH deficiency. Dr. Ann Danoff is a co-investigator on the NIH Women's Interagency HIV Study, as well as a multicenter Veterans Affairs study investigating the role of bromocriptine on metabolic parameters in patients with type 2 diabetes, and also collaborates with Dr. Kleinberg.

Drs. Manfred Blum, Loren Greene, and Valerie Peck also have undertaken substantial, ongoing, patient-related clinical research. Their areas of particular interest include imaging of thyroid and parathyroid lesions, adrenal insufficiency in patients with AIDS, and diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to osteoporosis.

In their second year of the program, all trainees are required to actively participate in research studies under the mentorship of the Division faculty. This occupies a major portion of the effort (approximately 60 percent) during that year and, for some, forms the basis for an additional, third year under the sponsorship and funding of the faculty member with whom they are working. In preparation for their decision regarding their area of interest and choice of laboratory and mentor, each trainee meets with the Program Director early in the spring of their first year. Trainees routinely meet separately with each potential mentor, and then return to discuss their choices with the Program Director. The Program Director takes an active role in ensuring that the selections of the trainees, including choice of laboratory and project, are made wisely and in a timely manner. During their research experience, fellows are expected to present their research in a seminar format, and, if they have accomplished a body of work, to present that work at national meetings and/or assist in its preparation for publication.