Our Core Research Faculty

Pioneering biomedical research in diabetes and its complications

The individuals below make up HHDC's core team of diabetes investigators.
Click the person's name to call up his/her faculty page and CV.

Madona Azar, M.D., M.P.H.

Associate Professor and Fellowship Director
Paul H. and Doris Eaton Travis Chair in Endocrinology | Endocrinology and Diabetes
Interim Director of Adult Clinical Programs | HHDC

Her research interests include diabetes in pregnancy, epidemiology, vitamin D deficiencies, and diabetes complications.


Joni Beck, Pharm.D., C.D.E., B.C.-A.D.M.

Clinical Associate Professor and Clinical Programs Director | Pediatric Diabetes/Endocrinology

Research interests include multidisciplinary diabetes patient management, assessing educational needs of families with diabetes, and reimbursement of non-physician diabetes services.


Steven D. Chernausek, M.D.

Professor | Pediatric Diabetes/Endocrinology

His research interests include the hormonal control of growth and the metabolic effect of fetal growth retardation. His group is also studying epigenetic factors in diabetes.


Michael Elliott, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Ophthalmology

He is studying regulation of the blood-retinal barrier and novel modulators of ocular inflammatory responses in diabetic retinopathy.


David Fields, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Pediatric Diabetes/Endocrinology

His research is to understand the role of modifiable gravid maternal factors (e.g. diet, physical activity, diabetes, obesity and mode of feeding) on the development of their offspring’s fat and lean mass in the first month of life and the subsequent influence on future disease risk in childhood, adolescence and adulthood.


Willard Freeman, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Physiology

His research interests include mitochondrial dysfunction in microvascular complications of diabetes.


Randle Gallucci, Ph.D.

Professor | Pharmaceutical Sciences

His research areas include IL6 signaling and its role in diabetes wound healing delay.


Minu George, M.D.

Associate Professor | Pediatric Diabetes/Endocrinology

His research interests include the prevention of obesity in childhood, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes mellitus types 1 and 2.


Qing Guo, M.D., Ph.D.

Professor | Physiology

His lab is studying pathogenesis of retinal fibrosis in diabetic nephropathy and identifying therapeutic targets.


David Jelley, M.D.

Hille Chair in Diabetes | OU School of Community Medicine–Tulsa
Senior Deputy Director | HHDC

His research focuses on management of children with type 1 diabetes, and works with TrialNet and the Type 1 Diabetes Exchange.


Shaoning Jiang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Research | Pediatric Diabetes/Endocrinology

Her research interests include DNA methylation and miRNAs in epigenetic regulation of metabolic disorders.


Dimitrios Karamichos, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Ophthalmology

His research interests include diabetic corneal complications. Specifically, he is studying diabetes-induced corneal nerve fiber degeneration and loss of sensitivity.


David Kem, M.D.

George Lynn Cross Research Professor
Regents Professor of Medicine | Endocrinology and Diabetes

His research is directed toward identifying the mechanism by which hyperglycemia may lead to 1) desensitization of the heart and 2) desensitization of receptors in blood vessels.


Yun Le, Ph.D.

Harold Hamm Chair in Diabetes Research
Associate Professor of Medicine | Endocrinology and Diabetes

His research interests include breakdown of the blood-retina barrier and alteration and degeneration of retinal neurons in diabetic retinopathy using conditional gene knockout mice.


Jonea Lim, M.D.

Assistant Professor | Endocrinology and Diabetes

Research interests include Phase III clinical trials for diabetes and pituitary disorders.

Jian-xing Ma, M.D., Ph.D.

Director of Research Programs | HHDC
Laureate Professor and Chairman | Dept. of Physiology

His research interests include pathogenesis of diabetic microvascular complications such as diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy. Specifically, he is studying the roles of dysregulation of Wnt signaling and PPAR pathways in diabetes complications.


Gennadiy Moiseyev, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Research | Endocrinology and Diabetes

His research interests include deficient vitamin A metabolism in visual impairment in diabetic retinopathy.


Ann L. Olson, Ph.D.

Professor | Biochemistry/Molecular Biology

The major research focus is insulin action and GLUT4 function in adipose tissue and muscle. Specifically, her lab is studying the molecular mechanisms that underlie GLUT4 transcriptional control, and gene regulation in adipose tissue.


Raju Rajala, Ph.D.

Professor | Ophthalmology

His research interests include function and regulation of insulin receptors and insulin signaling proteins in the retina.


Dharambir K. Sanghera, Ph.D.

Professor | Pediatric Diabetes/Endocrinology

Her research focuses on the interplay between environmental and genetic factors involved in type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease pathogenesis.


Kevin Short, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Pediatric Diabetes/Endocrinology

His research is to identify the most effective lifestyle approaches to prevent or reverse the cardiometabolic risk in children and young adults.


Susan Sisson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor | Nutritional Sciences

Her research interests include the influence of the physical and social environment on food consumption and physical activity behaviors and the impact of sedentary lifestyle on chronic diseases such as obesity.


David Sparling, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor | Pediatric Diabetes/Endocrinology

His research focuses on both diagnosis and management of children with type 1 diabetes as the site PI for TrialNet and the Type 1 Diabetes Exchange, as well as examining the role of adipocytes in inflammation.


Yusuke Takahashi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Research | Endocrinology and Diabetes

He is studying the role of miRNAs in pathogenesis of retinal inflammation and neovascularization in diabetic retinopathy.


Jeanie Tryggestad, M.D.

Assistant Professor | Pediatric Diabetes/Endocrinology

Her research interests include microRNAs in obesity, type 2 diabetes (especially in Native American populations), and vascular function in obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Weidong Wang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine | Endocrinology and Diabetes

One of his research areas is to generate pancreatic beta cells from humans induced pluripotent stem cells and develop an autologous cell-based therapy to replenish insulin-producing β-cells for the purpose of treating T1DM.


Jian Xu, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine | Endocrinology and Diabetes

His research interests include endothelial dysfunction in diabetes, specifically, mechanisms underlying the endothelial regulation of metabolic disorders, focusing on the role of the ubiquitinproteasome system in diabetes.


Xichun Yu, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Research | Endocrinology and Diabetes

He is studying GRK2 and proteasome dysregulation in myocardial ischemia and altered autonomic signaling in diabetic cardiomyopathy.


Xin Zhang, Ph.D.

Professor | Physiology

His research interests include dysregulated adhesion molecules in impaired podocyte adhesion and podocyte injury in diabetic nephropathy.