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From molecules to populations: Fighting the epidemics of obesity and diabetes
Date:1/26/2009

Diabetes is exploding it now afflicts some 200 million individuals worldwide and is fast becoming the No. 1 epidemic of our time. In the U.S. alone, more than 22 million people have diabetes, which is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, preventable amputations and blindness.

Now, thanks to a $2.5 million grant from the prestigious Burroughs Wellcome Fund, UCLA's next generation of scientists will be trained in multiple disciplines to fight diabetes through the newly established Burroughs Wellcome Fund Inter-school Training Program in Metabolic Disease (BWF-ITP-MD).

The BWF-ITP-MD, a Ph.D. education and research training program devoted entirely to the understanding of metabolic diseases, will bring together researchers and educators from the UCLA School of Public Health, the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and other UCLA entities.

"Our hope is to develop an integrative training and research framework where students can learn to assess the many seemingly distinct aspects of dietary, lifestyle and genetic factors that cause these prevalent phenotypes," said Dr. Simin Liu, program co-director and a professor of epidemiology and medicine. "Once trained, these scientists will be able to develop better insights and system strategies to curb this epidemic."

In short, Liu said, the goal of the program is to "provide comprehensive, interdisciplinary education and research training in all facets, attacking such metabolic diseases across the board, from sick molecules to sick populations."

The BWF-ITP-MD is the first-ever Ph.D. program to combine multiple disciplines in its approach to the study of metabolic diseases.

"We live at a point in time when metabolic diseases are rising faster than we can keep up, even as breathtaking scientific discoveries are being made that are unprecedented in the history of biomedical sciences," said Dr. Thomas Drake, program co-director and a profess
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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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