Skip Navigation

Spring 2007 Newsletter

Message from the Director

Calendar year 2006 was a very productive year for the MDRTC. As you know, the MDRTC competing renewal occupied much of our time. Planning for the grant began in the fall of 2005. Planning began in earnest with the Planning Retreat on February 9, 2006. In May, staff met with Core directors, developed a timeline, and began developing the grant proposal. Writing the grant occupied the Director, Associate Director, Administrator and the Core Directors from May to December. The grant was developed in three sections: the Administration Core, the Prevention and Control Division, and the Biomedical Research Division, and consisted of 1236 pages. The Peer Review dates for the grant are June-July 2007, and the Council Review dates are September 19-20, 2007.

Below are some of the facts and figures that demonstrate your success and the success of the MDRTC.

We are pleased with the continuing accomplishments of the MDRTC and its membership and have highlighted many of those successes in this edition of our newsletter.

New Appointments

Chief, Prevention and Control Division
John D. Piette, Ph.D.
John D. Piette, Ph.D., assumed the position of Chief of the Prevention and Control Division in January 2007. Dr. Piette is an Associate Professor of Internal Medicine. As Chief of the Prevention and Control Division, Dr. Piette facilitates interdisciplinary research collaborations and assists the Director in the review and development of Center Core services related to translational research.

Director of Grants Program
Martin G. Myers, Jr., M.D., Ph.D
With the retirement of Jack L. Kostyo, Ph.D, Martin G. Myers, Jr., M.D., Ph.D assumed responsibility for the management of the Pilot/Feasibility Study Grants Program. Dr. Myers is Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Associate Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. Dr. Myers is reviewing the existing process and making recommendations for streamlining and enhancing the P/FS grant proposal process.

Animal Phenotyping Core
Martin G. Myers, Jr., M.D., Ph.D
Dr. Myers also became the Director of the Animal Phenotyping Core in December 2006, replacing Charles Burant, M.D., Ph.D. Nathan Qi, Ph.D., oversees the day-to-day operations of the Core. The Core was established in April 2006 and is located in Room 1241A LSI. The Animal Metabolic Phenotyping Core provides the University of Michigan research community with the capability for sophisticated, standardized, physiologic phenotyping of rodent models with genetic manipulation or other interventions that may result in altered metabolism and metabolic diseases. For further information, please see the MDRTC Web site or call Dr. Qi at 764-7043.


Cell and Molecular Biology Core

Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) recombineering
There has been a strong interest among MDRTC investigators in gaining access to BAC recombineering. Dr. Ronald Koenig, Core Director, felt that other research units likely had similar needs, and brought together center directors to discuss joining forces to establish a BAC recombineering core. The response was enthusiastic and has resulted in participation by the Center for Organogenesis, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Gastrointestinal Peptide Center, Life Sciences Institute, and Kresge Hearing Research Institute. Together with the MDRTC, these Centers are financing the start up of the BAC Recombineering Facility, which is being housed in the Transgenic Animal Model Core. The managing director is Dr. Thomas Saunders, who also is the managing director of the Transgenic Animal Model Core.

Dr. Saunders is hiring personnel and purchasing specialized equipment. The facility will use the recombineering technology of Dr. Neal Copeland and the NCI. Dr. Saunders has completed material transfer agreements and has obtained the necessary materials for BAC recombineering from Dr. Copeland. The BAC Facility will test and adapt new recombineering technologies as they develop over time. Facility personnel will meet with investigators to develop an experimental plan. Investigators will be responsible for identifying the gene and the BAC they want to modify. The BAC Facility will provide investigators with a galK or other selection cassette. Investigators will provide the BAC Facility with 1) BAC for modification, 2) selection cassette modified for homologous recombination, and 3) DNA cassette to replace the selection cassette with the final, desired mutation. The BAC Facility will perform quality control tests to verify 1) the correct BAC was provided, 2) DNA sequence of the modified selection cassette is correct, and 3) DNA cassette with final mutation is correct. The BAC Facility will modify the BAC with recombineering technology, perform quality control on the BAC DNA sequence and provide the modified BAC to the investigator. If preferred, the BAC Facility will teach MDRTC members how to do recombineering themselves, but it is expected that most members will prefer that the facility do the work. The presence of trained staff with BAC recombineering expertise in a centralized facility will mitigate against the loss of expertise within individual labs and reduce the duplication of effort each time a research group needs to establish the technology. We anticipate that the cost per purified, recombineered BAC will be $250 for MDRTC investigators.

Hybridoma Core and Morphology and Imaging Analysis Core: With the planned demolition of the Ann Street Building in early 2008, the MDRTC relocated the Hybridoma Core and the Morphology and Imaging Analysis Core (MIAC) in early 2007. The Hybridoma Core moved to 3560B MSRB II in January and the MIAC Core moved into 3378 BSRB on February 27th.

Administration Core and the Chemistry Lab: The MDRTC Administrative Core and the Chemistry Lab are scheduled to move to 400 N. Ingalls on June 13, 2007. The Administrative Core is currently working with Medical School Facilities Management to develop the operational plan for the relocation.


The following researchers were awarded Pilot and Feasibility grants in December 2006.

MDRTC Pilot/Feasibility Awards

Due to the fact that the MDRTC is currently up for renewal and that the earliest start date of any of the newly funded Centers is anticipated to be three months later than in the past, we anticipate that the next Pilot and Feasibility Proposal Deadline will be ~ September 15, 2007.

Diabetes Interdisciplinary Study Program (DISP)

Martin G. Myers, MD, Ph.D., Internal Medicine, Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes, and Robert Thompson, Ph.D., Psychiatry, were awarded the MCDC/MDRTC DISP award for “Genomic analysis of novel leptin-regulated neural metabolic pathways”


Michael L. Boehnke, Ph.D., the Richard G. Cornell Collegiate Professor of Biostatistics and director of the University of Michigan Center for Statistical Genetics and Genome Science Training Program has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies, a prestigious honor for researchers in medical sciences, health care, and public health.

Kate Barald, Ph.D., Professor of Biomedical Engineering and of Cell and Developmental Biology, and Associate Director of the Program in Biomedical Sciences, is the recipient of the inaugural Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award from the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Dr. Barald also received the 22nd Annual Sarah Goddard Power Award from the Academic Women’s Caucus.

Eva L. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., the Russell N. Dejong Professor of Neurology, was honored with a 2006 Excellence in Leadership Award by the American Diabetes Association at the 14th Annual Commitment for a Cure Gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan.

Gary Freed, M.D., the Percy J. Murphy and Mary C. Murphy Professor in Pediatrics for Child Health Delivery, and Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, have been appointed Chair of the National Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Department of Health and Human Services.


In the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Liangyou Rui, Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and his team report their findings on a protein called SH2B1, and specifically on its activity in brain cells. Using a variety of techniques, they were able to show that SH2B1 regulates body weight, the action of the metabolic signaling molecules leptin and insulin, and the use of energy from food. It even moderated the impact of a high-fat diet on body weight.

World Diabetes Day Officially Recognized by the United Nations

On December 20, 2006, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a landmark Resolution recognizing diabetes as a chronic, debilitating and costly disease. The Resolution designates World Diabetes Day as a United Nations Day to be observed every year starting in 2007.

The campaign for a UN Resolution on diabetes, led by the International Diabetes Federation, brought together the largest diabetes coalition ever assembled, including IDF member associations, the majority of the world’s scientific and professional diabetes societies, many charitable foundations and service organizations, as well as industry.

The real beneficiaries of the Resolution will be people living with diabetes, their families and many more at risk. Read the UN Resolution on diabetes at


Winter Symposium

The MDRTC will hold its Winter Symposium on Saturday March 10th, 2007. The keynote speaker will be Barbra B. Kahn, M.D., Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Other featured speakers are listed below. A poster session was held featuring work in diabetes, signal transduction, and endocrinology/metabolism.

WHAT’S NEW AROUND THE U (for Researchers)

M-CORES: Online Directory of Shared Resources for Biomedical/ Clinical Researchers: UMMS created M-CORES, a central directory of shared biomedical resources at U-M. This Web site was created to aid research investigators who need a centralized resource that lets them browse or search for information about shared resources. About 58 core facilities were identified on the UM campus. The listing of MDRTC cores in M-CORES was recently updated by MDRTC administration in collaboration with Medical School staff.


A new tool was added to the Engage website in late January that educates and informs prospective volunteers to University of Michigan clinical research studies. The Engage registry makes it easier for clinical investigators to recruit subjects and for prospective subjects to express their interest in clinical research and potentially find a match among the many UM clinical studies seeking human volunteers. For more information, please contact the Engage Web site.

If you have questions about how to use the Bulletin Board, please contact the Engage team at or phone 734-998-7474 .

Blue-Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) and U-M Health System launch Michigan HealthQuarters

A new Michigan organization is dedicated to improving the quality of the state’s health care system, and transforming the way patient care is delivered in the state and beyond. Called Michigan HealthQuarters (MHQ) LLC, it is a joint venture of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the University of Michigan Health System.

In recent weeks, the organization held the first meeting of its board of managers, launched a national search for its first executive director, and chose the first project that it will undertake: evaluating if lower prescription drug co-payments for people with diabetes can improve the processes and outcomes of diabetes care.

The first project to be led by MHQ is actually one that began at U-M in July of 2006, when the University began reducing or eliminating co-pays for employees and their dependents who have diabetes. More than 2,000 people are now participating. This project, called MHealthy: Focus on Diabetes, now will be based in MHQ and administered by its staff, although participants will not notice any change.

The MHQ team will collect and analyze data together with a team from U-M to see if a reduction in out-of-pocket costs succeeds in increasing participants’ use of medications and tests that can slow or prevent diabetes complications such as heart disease, blindness and kidney failure.

William H. Herman, MD, MPH, and Rodney Hayward, MD, were selected to serve on the Michigan HealthQuarters board.

A Friendly Reminder

We would also like to remind you to cite the MDRTC on publications that present research supported by our Cores. The designation is: Supported in part by the ________ Core(s) of the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center (NIH5P60 DK20572 from the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases).

Personnel Directory

William H. Herman, M.D., M.P.H. 936-8279
Heather Stites, Administrative Assistant 936-8279
Sharon Badish, Administrative Assistant 936-8279
Associate Director and Chief, Biomedical Research Division
Christin Carter-Su, Ph.D. 763-2561
Barbara Hawkins, Administrative Assistant 763-2561
Chief, Prevention and Control Division
John D. Piette, Ph.D 647-7735
Pilot Feasibility Grant Program
Martin G. Myers, Jr. M.D., Ph.D, Director 647-9515
MDRTC Administrator
Linda D. Potter, B.S, M.S. 764-6103
Pamela Campbell, Administrative Assistant 763-5730
Behavioral Clinical and Health System Intervention Research Core
Robert M. Anderson, Ed.D., Director 763-1153
Biostatistics Core
Morton B. Brown, Ph.D., Director 936-0992
Cell and Molecular Biology Core
Ronald J. Koenig, M.D., Ph.D., Director 763-3059
Animal Phenotyping Core
Martin G. Myers, Jr. M.D., Ph.D., Director 647-9515
Nathan Qi. Ph.D., Laboratory Director 764-7043
Chemistry Laboratory764-8044
Donald A. Giacherio, Ph.D., Director 936-6775
Barry G. England, Ph.D., Co-Director 763-4030
Linda K. Brish 763-1025
Alice G. Koshy 763-4524
Hybridoma Core Facility
James R. Baker, Jr., M.D., Director 647-2777
Elizabeth Smith, M.S., Laboratory Director 763-9271
Measurement Core
Rodney A. Hayward, M.D., Director 647-4844
Morphology and Image Analysis Core
John A. Williams, M.D., Ph.D., Director 764-4376
Steven Ernst, Ph.D., Associate Director 763-8109
Stephen I. Lentz, Ph.D., Laboratory Director 763-2538
Protein Core
Henriette Remmer, Ph.D., Director 763-6285