Explore Harold Hamm Research


Dr. Jian-Xing Ma (left) is the center's director of research programs

Pioneering biomedical research in diabetes and its complications

Historical Background

Early on, the University of Oklahoma's Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) became internationally recognized for its work in the field of diabetes, creating a unique foundation for HHDC to be built upon.  As early as the late 1950s, OUHSC researcher Dr. Kelly West began his work that led to him becoming the first person to systematically study the mechanisms, natural history, and diagnostic criteria used to identify diabetes.  Today, he is internationally regarded as the “father of diabetes epidemiology.” The most prestigious award in diabetes epidemiology, given by the American Diabetes Association, is named in his honor.  In the 1960s, Dr. Paul Kimmelstiel came to OUHSC to carry on his groundbreaking work on diabetes and kidney disease, resulting in the identification of Kimmelstiel-Wilson syndrome, a kidney condition associated with diabetes.  In the 1970s, Dr. James Galvin joined OUHSC and pioneered innovative techniques for educating young children about diabetes and the importance of healthy lifestyles in preventing the disease.  In the 1990s, Dr. Kenneth Copeland came to OUHSC to greatly expand the pediatric diabetes program, which has led the way in researching prenatal and childhood causes of diabetes, as well as establishing treatment guidelines for type 2 diabetes in children.  In the 2000s, Dr. Timothy Lyons was recruited to significantly increase the focus of OUHSC’s endocrinology programs on adult diabetes research and clinical care.

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