My name's Peter Arvan, and I'm the director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center, which coordinates diabetes research, education and patient care.
Here at Michigan, we're studying diabetes from the very smallest level to the biggest: from the molecules and genes that are involved in the development of all forms of diabetes, to the damage that diabetes inflicts on the organs, nerves and blood vessels, to the way diabetes affects certain populations and can be prevented by targeting the people most at risk.
My own work focuses on the way the cells of the pancreas produce insulin molecules, and how diabetes may be caused in part by problems inside these insulin 'factories' that can cause the molecules to be produced incorrectly or not at all.
Another big topic for us is leptin, a hormone that many people think of as important to weight loss or gain. But our researchers are also showing that it plays a key role in they way the brain sends signals that regulate blood sugar -- no matter whether you're fat or thin.
We're also a major center for studying large populations of people with diabetes and pre-diabetes, to see how doctors and health insurance plans can do a better job of making sure that people understand their risk, control their blood sugar, and get early detection and treatment for diabetes complications. Other researchers here are studying gestational diabetes, including studies of how well pregnant women are being screened and treated for diabetes risk, especially if they had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy.
Meanwhile, we've got a very active program to study the way that diabetes causes nerve damage, accelerates heart disease, and can contribute to depression.
We have one of only five Diabetes Research and Training Centers sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, engaging hundreds of scientists and health care workers, as well as valuable support from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; the American Diabetes Association; and critical philanthropic gifts to further boost our growing diabetes programs.
Michigan is helping to lead the charge against diabetes -- it's an exciting thing to watch!