The American Board of Pediatrics requires fellows to engage in scholarly activity during their fellowship, and we view this as one of the most important aspects of post-residency training. Participating in clinical or basic research gives the fellow a deeper understanding of the questions that must be asked to advance the field and methods used to answer these questions. Many of our trainees have developed productive research careers as academic physicians, and these careers were first nurtured during fellowship.
Our Endocrine Scientist Training Program is an NIH-funded research program that prepares Pediatric Endocrinology and combined Medicine-Pediatric Endocrinology fellows for a career in clinical or basic science research. Fellows in this program follow one of two research training tracks: the Endocrinology Clinical Research Track or the Basic Science of Endocrinology Track. This program is completed during the 2nd and 3rd years of fellowship and consists of mentor-based training in clinical or laboratory research techniques as well as didactic courses in clinical research methods or molecular biologic techniques, research ethics, and statistics. Fellows following the Endocrinology Clinical Research track obtain a Master of Clinical Research degree at the completion of the three year fellowship. The research training program differs for each fellow, depending on his or her individual needs. It is expected that some trainees will bring a wealth of prior research training with them, while others will have little previous experience. Hence, the program is designed to be flexible in addressing the individual needs of the fellow.
During the first months of training, fellows meet with the program directors to explore their interests. We review potential areas for research and discuss possible mentors. By the end of the first six months, fellows have identified a mentor and a research project and have begun research activities that continue throughout their training. Many fellows will have the opportunity to present findings at national meetings by the end of their first year. Additional opportunities abound for authoring case reports, review articles, and book chapters.
At the completion of their three-year fellowship, our graduates are prepared to become junior faculty members at academic institutions. They are able to compete successfully for research funding from the National Institutes of Health and non-governmental sources.
There are numerous clinical and basic research studies within the Section. Current clinical research interests include:
- Treatment of central precocious puberty
- Long term outcomes of central precocious puberty
- Osteogenesis imperfecta
- Bone disease in children with cystic fibrosis
- Congenital hypothyroidism
- Insulin pump usage in children with type 1 diabetes
- Endothelial progenitor cells in type 1 diabetes
- Continuous glucose monitoring in type 1 diabetes
- Immunomodulatory therapies to prevent or modify type 1 diabetes
- Quality of life in type 1 diabetes
- Long-term outcomes of growth hormone treatment
- New agents for treatment of growth hormone deficiency
- Growth in children with ADHD
- Treatment of type 2 diabetes
- Relationship of sleep apnea to insulin resistance and obesity
The Section of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology also includes the Wells Center for Diabetes Research. The goal of the Center for Diabetes Research is to promote the training of scientists whose research will develop new understandings of the basis of diabetes and its complications, and to cultivate basic science research that can speed the discovery of more effective therapies. The Pediatric Diabetes Research Team is committed to understanding the biology and molecular mechanisms that lead to the development of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children. Our research team currently has 4 nationally recognized NIH-funded principal investigators whose research focuses on the development, function, and survival of insulin-producing pancreatic islets. These investigators are supported by an outstanding team of researchers at multiple levels, including research faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and undergraduates. Our research space is in the state-of-the-art Van Nuys Medical Science Building.
Current areas of laboratory-based research include:
- Basic diabetes research
- Pancreatic islets
- Islet transplantation
- Pathophysiology of diabetes
- Molecular pathways
- Insulin-producing cells
- Stem cell therapies
- Targeted therapies