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In response to the growing epidemic of diabetes and obesity confronting eastern North Carolina, the UNC Board of Governors founded a research facility in 2005 to investigate these metabolic disorders. The Metabolic Institute was established, though the name was later changed in 2010 to its current designation, the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute (ECDOI). The core research philosophy of the institute is an integrative, interdisciplinary approach. This collaborative strategy is recognized as a key to success by many other universities and the National Institutes of Health. Combined, researchers from the institute have received over $17 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health.
ECU scientists are recognized as international leaders in the study of metabolic diseases. Research at the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute encompasses several fields including bariatric surgery, insulin signaling, glucose transport, bioenergetics, exercise physiology, pediatric healthy weight programs, polyunsaturated fatty acids, cardiac arrhythmia, and many other areas. Major discoveries by researchers at the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute include 1) type 2 diabetes, previously thought to be incurable, can be reversed within several weeks to months after bariatric surgery, and 2) insulin resistance in muscle, a precondition that leads to diabetes, is caused by elevated production of hydrogen peroxide produced by mitochondria.
The East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute occupies a world class research facility on the 4th floor of the East Carolina Heart Institute on ECU’s west campus. Construction is expected to be completed in the Fall of 2013. The vision of the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute is to become a nationally recognized authority in the investigation of new strategies to prevent and treat metabolic disorders.
Faculty members interested in joining the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute can find out more at Join the ECDOI. Future undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate students interested in our academic training programs you can find out more at Students. If you want more information about the East Carolina Diabetes and Obesity Institute, or would like to donate money to help support our efforts, please contact the ECDOI.