East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute

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Welcome to the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute (ECDOI) at East Carolina University. The ECDOI is an interdisciplinary research institute jointly supported by the Divisions of Health Sciences and Research & Graduate Studies.

The ECDOI is well known for cutting-edge collaborative research in several fields related to disorders of metabolism, including bariatric surgery, muscle insulin signaling/glucose transport, bioenergetics/exercise physiology, and pediatric healthy weight programs.

The mission of the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute is to develop, promote, facilitate, and support interdisciplinary basic and clinical research in disorders of metabolism including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and cancer.


Joseph Houmard
ECU part of groundbreaking, $170 million NIH-funded national study (December 2016)
ECU will receive about $1.5 million over the next six years as part of a total $170 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health Common Fund. The grants were announced Dec. 13 as part of the NIH Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans Program. The funding will support clinical research sites in analyzing how physical activity changes the chemical molecules within the body, which could lead to more targeted types of exercise.
Read the full story.
Darrell Neufer
R01 Awarded (July 2016)
Dr. Neufer was awarded an R01 in the amount of $1,753,867.00 over a 4 year period from the NIDDK looking at the "Impact of organic cations on mitochondrial energetic driving forces and metabolic efficiency". Understanding and manipulating the functions of mitochondria may advance our techniques in treating type II diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
Tim Heden
American Heart Association Mid-Atlantic Affiliate postdoctoral fellowship. (July 2016)
Tim Heden, Ph.D. received a 2-year AHA postdoctoral fellowship award that will help to prepare Tim for a career as an independent scientist. The goal of the research project is to more completely understand how skeletal muscle mitochondrial phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) impacts skeletal muscle aerobic capacity and insulin resistance, two major risk factors for heart disease. Tim will study how mice with skeletal muscle specific knockout of phosphatidylserine decarboxylase (enzyme that makes mitochondrial PE) alters skeletal muscle aerobic capacity, insulin resistance, and mitochondrial content and dynamics. Data from these studies will provide fundamental insights into the regulation of skeletal muscle respiration and substrate metabolism and introduce mitochondrial PE as a potential key player in metabolic disease development.
Terence Ryan
NHLBI NRSA F32 Award (May 2016)
Terence Ryan, Ph.D. was awarded an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship (Parent F32). The award will support Terence for in training for 3 years with a stipend and institutional allowance to further his research in "Skeletal Muscle Mitochondria and Peripheral Arterial Disease Pathology".

More news


The ECDOI is comprised of more than 40 faculty members from 17 different departments on both the main and health sciences campus. The Institute is closely aligned with the East Carolina Heart Institute (ECHI) and offers ECDOI- and/or ECHI- affiliated faculty several research support programs, access to core equipment, and opportunities to forge new collaborations through a number of interactive research forums.

To find out more

Read more about the ECDOI and all about the research happening at the ECDOI. You can also find out more about how Diabetes and Obesity impacts NC.

Contact the ECDOI