Skip Navigation

Fundraising Partnerships

Aaron Mercer - Running for Research

I'm a Colorado native, born and raised in the suburbs of Denver. I attended Colorado State University with the intention of attending vet school, but I was so inspired by my neuroscience and neuroanatomy professors that I decided to pursue a Ph.D in neuroscience instead.

I completed my Ph.D in Experimental Neuroscience at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in May of 2011. I am currently a post-doctoral research fellow in Dr. Malcolm Low's lab in the departments of Molecular & Integrative Physiology and Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes.

A big reason why I contacted Dr. Low for a post-doc position is because of my running. I started running in high school, mostly as an extramural hobby, but it developed into a passion of mine. I've even been training my dogs to run up to 14 to 15 miles with me as well! I've run races from as short as two miles all the way up to a full marathon.

I'm very interested in how the human body can perform during endurance sports, and a large component of this is nutrition. Since I have a personal curiosity in this area and I am trained as a neurophysiologist, working in a lab to study the brain circuits involved in food intake made perfect sense. I am currently studying the anatomical connections and physiology of hypothalamic brain circuits that regulate eating and metabolism.

I want to raise funds for the U-M Comprehensive Diabetes Center (MCDC) to support healthy lifestyles. While this may seem like a broad explanation, many people don't make proper decisions about exercise and diet. Consequently, two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are overweight and one-third are obese. I want to lead by example through my distance running, and use this as a tool to support further research and community outreach through the MCDC.

In 2011, I trained for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon that took place on October 9, 2011. I asked for pledges for my run and donated the proceeds to the MCDC. My other goal was to run a the full race in under 3:10:00. I didn’t crack that magic 3:10:00 mark, but the race was a ton of fun! I also came in as runner #1644, making me in the top 3% of the 45,000 competitors!

Visit Aaron's running blog

You, Too, Can Support Diabetes Research!

If you wish to support diabetes research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center, see our giving web page on how to make a donation.

If you are interested in partnering with us to raise money by receiving pledges for athletic challenges, or any other idea, you may contact:

Lori Hirshman
Internal Medicine Development Manager
(734) 763-6080 or