Barnstable Brown Diabetes & Obesity Research Center

Established in 2008 through the generous donations of the Barnstable Brown family, the Barnstable Brown Diabetes & Obesity Research Center (BBDOC) at the University of Kentucky is a growing leader in diabetes research. Our vision is to maximize UK’s research strengths and efforts to reduce the burden of diabetes and obesity and improve the overall health of Kentucky and beyond.

BBDOC brings together over 120 faculty across 38 departments and 12 colleges. These investigators organize into five robust, multidisciplinary Research Groups:

  • Diabetes &/or Obesity
  • Bone & Muscle
  • Metabolism
  • Pediatrics
  • Diabetes Complications & Comorbidities

BBDOC investigators develop and promote innovative research that spans the translational science spectrum.

Access the directory of BBDOC researchers here.

Research Priority Areas

Diabetes and obesity are highly prevalent in Kentucky, and our rates are ranked among the highest in the nation. As the state’s flagship university, we are committed to addressing the devastating effects of diabetes and obesity to improve the health and well-being of those in the Commonwealth and beyond.

The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) started the UK Research Priority Areas (RPA) based on the University’s strategic plan, which charged researchers to invest in existing strengths and areas of growth that enrich the lives of residents of the Commonwealth. The OVPR selected seven areas with existing strength in funding and scholarly activity that span multiple disciplines. The areas are: 

  • Diabetes & obesity
  • Cancer
  • Substance use disorder
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Neuroscience
  • Energy
  • Diversity and inclusion

Our Diabetes & Obesity RPA in partnership with the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center (BBDC) is represented by about 150 UK researchers, including trainees and staff. We come from 11 UK colleges, and our research spans the entire T0-T4 spectrum. The majority of our research dollars come from National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. The primary institutes that fund our research are  National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute (NHLBI); and the National Institute on Aging (NIA).

Simon Fisher (Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism; Acting Director, BBDC) and Nada Porter (Chair, Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences-PNS, UK College of Medicine) represent the RPA leadership. Together, we are working to leverage, integrate and expand our campuswide strengths in basic, clinical and community-based research to address disparities in diabetes and obesity.

Our researchers are located in the state-of-the art Healthy Kentucky Research Building, which provides dedicated space for researchers to collaborate and focus on the Commonwealth's major health disparities, in addition to many other sites on campus.

To further grow research in the diabetes and obesity areas, the RPA has also contributed to the COM Alliance Research Initiative. This program was developed to foster transdisciplinary research campuswide and enable a greater overall impact of UK research. BBDOC has played a key role in supporting the Alliance Initiative as well as some of our early stage investigators.

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