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T32 Training Program

The “Diabetes and Its Metabolic Complications” T32 Training Program at the University of Maryland Baltimore is a program designed to train predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in physiology and pathophysiology related to diabetes at the molecular, cellular and organism levels. The program takes advantage of the multidisciplinary and highly interactive research environment at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the  Amish Research Clinic  (Lancaster, PA) to provide outstanding training in critical areas of basic and translational research related to diabetes and its complications. A guiding philosophy is that the “Diabetes and Its Metabolic Complications” T32 training program will provide integrative activities that illuminate the inter-relatedness of basic research and clinical medicine. Support for the program has been provided from a training grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Major advances in our understanding of disease biology require a detailed understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology at the molecular, cellular, and integrated whole body level. The faculty of this training program is particularly strong in translational research including genetics, epidemiology, cell biology, clinical physiology, clinical pharmacology, and pharmacogenomics. In addition to areas directly related to physiology and pathophysiology of fuel metabolism, this program encompasses pathophysiology related to both macrovascular and microvascular complications of diabetes. Specific areas of interest include atherosclerosis, diabetic kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), diabetes-associated bone disease, and diabetic embryopathy. The goal of our training program is to provide an integrative research experience with appropriate mentoring and career guidance to prepare trainees for a career in diabetes research. The T32 “Diabetes and Its Metabolic Complications” program is designed to meet this objective through appropriate didactic and research components, interactive seminars and workshops, and professional development that should provide a solid foundation for a long term and successful career in diabetes research.

This T32 Training Program has positions for predoctoral students, postdoctoral fellows and for clinical fellows interested in research related to Diabetes and/or its Metabolic Complications. When applying for support from this training program, it will be important for candidates to articulate how the proposed training will prepare them for successful careers in diabetes research.

To be considered for a position on this training grant, a faculty mentor must first be identified and a research plan developed in conjunction with the mentor.

The award of a trainee slot on this grant is for a minimum of one year and a maximum of three years. Funding for the second and third years will be contingent upon demonstration of good progress during the prior year(s). Trainees and mentors are encouraged to apply for individual competitive fellowships or for other research grant support during their tenure in the program. All predoctoral and postdoctoral fellows supported by the “Diabetes and Its Metabolic Complications” T32 training program will participate in didactic components, interactive seminars and workshops, and professional development as appropriate to their background, in order to provide a solid foundation for a long term and successful career in diabetes research.

Funding support from this grant is limited to the levels mandated by NIH guidelines. For MD trainees, support from the T32 Training Program provides ‘protected time’ for immersion in research, and it is required that patient care responsibilities will be limited to <10% effort (one half day per week), primarily to help complete long-term patient care experience necessary for their subspecialities and to maintain patient-care skills.

Qualifications for Trainee Slots:

  • All appointments to this training grant are restricted to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents of the U.S. and noncitizen nationals. Persons on temporary or student visas are not eligible.
  • Applicants must be committed to research related to diabetes and/or metabolic complications of diabetes.
  • Predoctoral applicants must be enrolled in the Graduate Program In Life Sciences (GPILS; PhD or MD/PhD program) at the University of Maryland Baltimore. Students must have completed their coursework and be positioned to embark upon their thesis research.
  • Postdoctoral applicants must have completed doctoral level training (e.g. PhD, MD, MD/PhD, PharmD, DDS or equivalent). Evidence of scholarly productivity in the form of publications or planned publications is required for trainees with PhD degrees and is highly desirable for trainees with MD degrees. Post-doctoral trainees from Clinical Fellowship training programs (e.g. Endocrinology, Nephrology, Gastroenterology, or Cardiology) are encouraged to apply.
  • All applicants must identify a Faculty Mentor to sponsor their application. Ordinarily, the mentor would be selected from the list of Faculty Mentors formally associated with this T32 Training Program. However, with the approval of the Program Director (Simeon Taylor, MD, PhD), other mentors may be acceptable. In any case, the research project must be directly related to Diabetes and/or Metabolic Complications of Diabetes.


Faculty Mentors


MentorResearch Focus

Amber Beitelshees, PharmD, MPH 

Dr. Beitelshees is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Dr. Beitelshees conducts research related to the pharmacogenomics of diabetes and cardiovascular disease medications and genomic medicine implementation.  She is currently funded by an R01 from NIDDK (R01DK118942) and an R21 from NHGRI (R21HG010412). She has extensive experience in the design, conduct, and analysis of clinical pharmacology studies investigating inter-individual differences in response to medications.  Dr. Beitelshees has over 120 original articles and reviews.  She lectures in numerous courses in the medical school, graduate program, and pharmacy school including leading innovative self-genotyping exercises for pharmacogenomics education.  Dr. Beitelshees has mentored trainees at all levels from undergraduate students to post-doctoral fellows. 
Maureen Black, PhD Dr. Black serves as John A. Scholl and Mary Louise Scholl Endowed Professor of Pediatrics and the Chief of the Division of Growth and Nutrition in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Black directs an interdisciplinary Growth and Nutrition Clinic for children with growth and /or feeding problems. Her expertise is in the prevention of health disparities associated with threats to children’s early development, including poverty, nutritional deficiencies (including food insecurity and micronutrient deficiencies), biological challenges (prenatal exposure to cocaine, opioids, or HIV), and lack of early learning opportunities. Dr. Black currently serves as PI on a grant from NIDDK (R01DK106424) entitled “Building blocks to healthy preschoolers: child-care and family wellness models”. She has a long history of successfully mentoring junior scholars, including 51 dissertation committees (most conducted with data  collected from her grants), 18 postdoctoral fellows (all funded from her grants), and 10 NIH-supported trainees – including six K-awards, four F-awards, and two diversity fellowships). She received an Excellence in Mentoring Award from the University of Maryland Clinical Science Translation Institute and in 2016 received the inaugural J. Tyson Tilton Award for Excellence in Mentoring.
Jonathan Bromberg, MD, PhD Dr. Bromberg serves as Professor of Surgery and Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. His research focuses on basic cellular and molecular transplant immunology. His basic research focuses on T cell immunobiology – especially related to migration, trafficking, secondary lymphoid organ structure and function, and lymphatic structure and function, and how these processes and structures influence T cell immunity and T cell tolerance in models of pancreatic islet transplantation. He maintains an active clinical practice in pancreas and kidney transplantation, which informs his research related to patients’ immune systems, including cellular and humoral rejection, opportunistic infections, chronic viral disease, autoimmune organ failure, and immunosuppression medication side effects.  His basic research and clinical interests are especially well suited to complement and inform each other, and to keep each aspect of his professional life current and relevant. Dr. Bromberg has been continuously funded for over 30 years, and currently serves as PI on four NIH grants (R01AI114496, RO1AI062765, U01DK116095, R01HL148672) as well as site PI for two additional multi-center clinical trials related to therapeutic regimens for and immunological aspects of kidney transplantation (U01AI063594 and R01 AI123342). Dr. Bromberg has received numerous awards and honors, and currently serves as Executive Editor for Clinical Sciences of the journal Transplantation
Stephen Davis, MBBS, FRCP, FACE, MACP Dr. Davis is the Theodore E. Woodward Professor of Medicine and Chairman of the Department of Medicine, Professor of Physiology and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and serves as Physician-in-Chief at the University of Maryland Medical Center.  He is Director of the General Clinical Research Center and the University of Maryland’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, as well as Vice President of Clinical Translational Science at the University of Maryland Baltimore campus.  An internationally recognized endocrinologist and research scientist, Dr. Davis’s major research interests include studying neural control of metabolism, exercise physiology and metabolic regulation of in-vivo vascular biology in obese, diabetic and healthy individuals.  Using state-of-the-art integrated in-vivo clinical physiologic approaches, Dr. Davis and his group have been able to identify the deficient autonomic nervous system, neuroendocrine and metabolic homeostatic mechanisms responsible for increased hypoglycemia during rest and exercise in intensively treated Type 1 and Type 2 DM individuals.   More recently, Dr. Davis’s studies have demonstrated novel treatment strategies to restore the deficient autonomic nervous system responses during hypoglycemia and exercise.  Dr. Davis has substantial expertise and experience in the design, conduct, and interpretation of in-vivo human clinical physiology studies using glucose clamp and isotope dilution methodologies.  He has published more than 225 original articles, reviews and textbook chapters in premier scientific journals, and has been recognized with many distinguished awards, including the Novartis Award for Diabetes Research, considered to be one of the highest honors in that field of research. 
Erin Hager, PhD Dr. Hager is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) in the Departments of Pediatrics and Epidemiology & Public Health.  Dr. Hager received her PhD in Human Nutrition from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is the Lead Scientist for the Maryland School Wellness Partnership, which includes the state departments of education and health.  Dr. Hager is currently funded by the USDA, NIH, and CDC to implement and evaluate the impact of strategies to prevent obesity in children in schools and communities, with a focus on wellness policy implementation in schools.  As a former recipient of the NICHD BIRCWH (Building Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health) K12 mentored career development award, Dr. Hager gained experience with team mentoring and learned characteristics of an effective mentor. Since joining the faculty at UMSOM in 2009, she has formally mentored 6 post-doctoral fellows or Pediatric/Preventive Medicine residents and 7 doctoral, 18 masters, 12 medical, and 10 undergraduate students. Currently, she is the primary mentor for an NIDDK F32 mentored post-doctoral fellowship award and an American Heart Association Career Development award and is on the mentoring team for an NCCIH mid-career K award. Of her last 20 publications, 17 were co-authored with mentees (mentee as first author on 11). Dr. Hager’s mentees have had measured success in academic careers, going on to faculty positions, post-doctoral fellowships, graduate school, and positions in local and state government. In addition to her commitment to research and mentoring, Dr. Hager is the Director of the Program in Health Disparities and Population Health at UMSOM, the Chair of the Maryland State School Health Council, and is an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Obesity Research Center Executive Committee, led by Dr. Taylor (PI of this application).
Zhe Han, PhD  Dr. Han serves as Assoc. Professor of Medicine and also as the founding Director of the Center for Precision Disease Modeling at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is a developmental biologist whose research focuses on using Drosophila to model human diseases and to identify precision medicine-based therapeutic targets. Among his research interests, Dr. Han has made important contributions to genetic research related to nephrocyte function and nephrotic syndrome. Two of his four R01 grants support research investigating mechanisms mediating “toxic” effects of APOL1 on the kidney (R01DK112266 and R01DK120908). Because nonsynonymous variants in APOL1 are associated with risk of diabetic kidney disease, these projects are particularly relevant to the strategic focus of our T32 Program. He has mentored more than 25 graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and Visiting Scholars over the past 15 years – some of whom are in faculty positions at universities in the US, China, or South Korea. Having joined the faculty at University of Maryland School of Medicine only a year ago, he has rapidly become an important member of the local community of translational researchers with interests related to diabetes. 
Iris Lindberg, PhD Dr. Lindberg serves as Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her research focuses specifically on the molecules and mechanisms within the regulated secretory pathway required to produce signaling peptides - neuropeptides and peptide hormones. To accomplish peptide hormone synthesis, large peptide precursors are cleaved by precursor processing enzymes, known as proprotein convertases, with the aid of the two small secretory chaperones proSAAS and 7B2.  In previous work Dr. Lindberg studied cellular regulation of convertase activity; established crystal structures; and identified small molecule activators and inhibitors of convertases through pharmacological collaborations. Her current work investigates mechanisms mediating the large obesity risk associated with genetic variants in human prohormone convertase PC1/3 (PCSK1). Her research team investigates these variants in cell culture and hypothalamic tissue obtained from mouse animal models – including knock-ins of both the abundant N221D human polymorphism as well as the rare G209R mutation, and a novel PCSK1-floxed mouse crossed with a POMC-Cre mouse. Since POMC peptide products contribute importantly to obesity mechanisms, the studies include quantitation of hypothalamic alpha-MSH as well as other peptide products. These studies will shed light on molecular mechanisms for the obesity risk associated with human PCSK1 mutations. Dr. Lindberg’s obesity-related research is funded by an R01 grant from NIDA (R01DA042351), which supports research on two obesity-related Specific Aims: (i) to establish the biochemical basis for the association of human PCSK1 mutations with obesity; and (ii) to create gene-edited mouse lines expressing human obesity PCSK1 mutations.
Mary Kay Lobo, PhD Dr. Lobo serves as Associate Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In addition, she serves as Director of Graduate Education for the Program in Neuroscience. Dr. Lobo conducts research relating to the neurobiological mechanisms underlying diseased states, with a focus on striatal neuron populations that play a role in metabolic disorders and mitochondrial dysfunction including dysregulated reward processes such as high fat diet induced obesity. Dr. Lobo’s. research is supported by three NIH R01s (R01MH106500, R01DA038613, and R01DA047843), one R21 (R21DA046227, R21DA048554; one of which is a NIH Cutting Edge Basic Research Award), NSF 1631680, The One Mind/Janssen Rising Star Translational Research Award, and a US- Israel BSF 201752 research grant. Her research has been recognized by honors including the Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists Finalist and Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) through the Obama administration. She is currently mentoring five Postdoctoral Fellows and one PhD student. Former trainees including one Postdoctoral Fellow and one PhD student have advanced onto research related fields as a Research Associate Faculty/Director of UMSOM Viral Vector Core and a Postdoctoral Fellow at NIDA IRP. Dr. Lobo serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Neuroscience and is on the Editorial Board for ACS Chemical Neuroscience, Biological Psychiatry, and Neuropsychopharmacology. Our T32 Program currently supports a post-doctoral fellow (Dr. Cali Calarco) mentored by Dr. Lobo. Dr. Calarco’s post-doctoral research investigates the role of PGC-1a in mediating the effect of high fat diet to regulate mitochondrial function in the nucleus accumbens. This research will provide novel insights into mechanisms whereby caloric content and nutrient composition of the diet influence reward-associated brain circuits. This, in turn, will provide valuable insights into mechanisms whereby diet regulates appetite and food intake.
Braxton Mitchell, PhD, MPH Dr. Mitchell PhD, MPH is a Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology & Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He serves as Vice Division Chief for Research in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Nutrition and Associate Director of the NIDDK-funded Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Obesity Research Center. Dr. Mitchell is a population scientist whose current research focuses on identifying the lifestyle and genetic determinants of cardiometabolic health in a large Amish community population and on mapping genes for early and late onset ischemic stroke in a large international consortium.  He is a Principal Investigator representing the Amish cohort in the NHLBI-funded Trans-Omics Program in Precision Medicine (TOPMed).  Dr. Mitchell has completed the training for 9 pre-doctoral fellows and 11 post-doctoral fellows and has mentored 3 undergraduate students. Of the 11 doctoral students who have completed training in his lab, 6 are currently faculty at academic institutions, 3 have positions at NIH or FDA and 3 are employed by industry. All are working in the area of genetics. Currently, his lab is staffed by 3 PhD students and 1 post-doc. In addition to his academic role at the University of Maryland, Dr. Mitchell has served as a charter member of three different NIH Study Sections and served as Associate Editor of Diabetes from 2009-2016.

Toni Pollin, PhD, MS 

[T-32 Steering Committee]

Dr. Pollin serves as Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In addition, she serves as Track Leader for the PhD/MS training track in the Human Genetics. Her research focuses primarily on studies of genetic susceptibility factors for type 2 diabetes and responses to treatment and preventive modalities. In addition, she investigates barriers to implementation of genomic medicine (particularly related to monogenic diabetes) in clinical settings. She is PI on a grants from NICHD (U24HD093486) related to monogenic diabetes, and also leads the University of Maryland site for the NIDDK-funded Center for Identification and Study of Individuals with Atypical Diabetes Mellitus (U54DK118612; Dr. Lou Phillipson, PI). In addition to her research and administrative responsibilities, Dr. Pollin lectures in numerous courses, and has served on twelve PhD committees (three as chair). Among her previous trainees who have completed degrees, most are employed as faculty or postdoctoral research scientists and one as biochemical genetics lab co-director. Dr. Pollin is actively involved in the education of genetic and other health care providers regarding the genetics of diabetes at both the local and national levels, having lectured on the subject to the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC), American Diabetes Association, and physicians, nurses and geneticists at the University and other hospitals in the Baltimore area. Finally, she is Past Chair of the Practice Guidelines Committee of the NSGC and is a lead site visitor for the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling.  

Megan Rizzo, PhD

[T-32 Steering Committee] 

Dr. Rizzo serves as Associate Professor of Physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Rizzo has a long-standing interest in the biology of insulin secretion, and is presently supported by three R01s from NIDDK, NHLBI, and NIMH (BRAIN initiative program). Dr. Rizzo began her career studying insulin receptor signaling at the University of Pittsburgh before moving to Vanderbilt University to focus more closely on glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from the pancreas. At present, Dr. Rizzo focuses on understanding the regulation of glucose-sensing in the pancreas and defining the changes in glucokinase regulation brought on by type 2 diabetes. Along the way, Dr. Rizzo has created notable fluorescence probes and fluorescence imaging technology, including the Cerulean line of fluorescent proteins and polarization-based FRET detection microscopy methods. Her research is supported by three NIH grants: R01DK077140, R01HL122827, and R01MH111527. Dr. Rizzo’s lab presently has 3 Ph.D. students, 1 MD/Ph.D. student, and two post-doctoral fellows. Previous trainees have moved on to employment in both academic (Johns Hopkins, Boston University) and industrial (BeiGene, Genentech) positions. She has also mentored several undergraduate and medical students during her time at UMB. Further, Dr. Rizzo regularly serves on NIH study sections for NIDDK, the SPARC initiative, and the BRAIN initiative. She is a standing member of the BRAIN Initiative 3D Microscopy Working Group that is steering the development of data collection specifications for neuronal circuitry mapping. 
James Russell, MB, ChB, MS Dr. Russell serves as Professor of Neurology, Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Director of the Peripheral Neuropathy Center and Electrophysiology Laboratories.  He previously served as Vice Chair for Research and Head of the Neuromuscular Division in the Department of Neurology. Dr. Russell's laboratory’s research focuses on fundamental mechanisms leading to diabetic neuropathy and other neurological complications of diabetes. This translational research is aimed at developing improved diagnosis and treatment for peripheral neuropathies.  His clinical research group focuses on treatment of subjects with diabetic neuropathy which is being addressed in several intervention trials.  He is funded by NIDDK (R01DK107007), the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Russell has served as primary mentor for over 25 pre- and post-doctoral fellows and has nurtured them to develop their research proposals and has advised them in their future careers.  He has extensive experience mentoring fellows and junior faculty.  Two of his trainees are now full Professors, three are Associate Professors and four are Assistant Professors in major academic departments in the United States.  Many of the undergraduate students have continued into PhD programs in Cell Biology, Diabetes and Neuroscience or MD programs.  Dr. Russell has also helped to foster the research careers of students through his role as Director of the Neuromuscular Program, as a faculty on the Neuroscience program, and as a reviewer for career development grants through NIH, the Veterans Administration, ADA and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Simeon Taylor, MD, PhD

[T-32 Program Director]

Dr. Taylor serves as Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. In addition, he serves as Director of the NIDDK-funded Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Obesity Research Center and Director of the NIDDK-funded T32 Institutional Research Training Program in Diabetes and Its Metabolic Complications. Dr. Taylor conducts research related to pathophysiology of diabetes and pharmacology of diabetes drugs (focusing on pharmacogenetics as well as safety issues and side effects). Dr. Taylor’s research has been supported by an R01 grant from NIDDK (R01DK118942) and an Innovative Clinical and Translational Science grant from the American Diabetes Association. His research has been recognized by several awards including the Outstanding Service Award of the US Public Health Service (1990) and the Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award of the American Diabetes Association (1992). He currently serves as mentor for two post-doctoral trainees. While working in the NIDDK Intramural Research Program (1979-2000), Dr. Taylor mentored three PhD students, three HHMI-funded medical students, and >25 post-doctoral trainees – many of whom have successfully established highly productive independent research careers – for example, Dr. Domenico Accili (Russell Berrie Foundation Professor of Diabetes in Medicine, Columbia University), Dr. Takashi Kadowaki (Professor and Chairman of the Department of Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, University of Tokyo), Dr. Atul Butte (Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg Distinguished Professor and Director of the Bakar Computational Health Sciences, University of California San Francisco), Dr. Carol Haft (Program Director, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases, NIDDK), and Dr. Jenny Blau (Associate Program Director, NIH Inter-Institute Endocrinology Training Program, NIDDK). In addition to his academic role at University of Maryland, Dr. Taylor is Associate Editor of The Journal of Clinical Investigation and also serves as a standing member of NIDDK’s DDK-B Study Section that reviews K-awards, R03 grants, and T32 training grants. 

Stephen Thom, MD 

Dr. Thom serves as Professor of Emergency Medicine, is board certified in Emergency Medicine, and also has completed additional training including a PhD in Microbial Physiology. Dr. Thom has been active in research as an independent investigator since 1989 and supported by NIH and DOD funding. NIDDK supported studies have focused on the role of vasculogenic stem cells in the healing of neuropathic diabetic wounds and pro-inflammatory microparticle production in response to hyperglycemia. His most recent NIDDK-funded project (R01DK116199) is to obtain further evidence to confirm the association of variations in a gene called NOS1AP, which codes for a protein called capon, with impaired healing in those with diabetes and discerning the functional basis of compromised wound repair. Dr. Thom and his colleagues are prospectively collecting blood samples from patients with foot ulcers and correlating wound outcome with data on their finely sequenced NOS1AP gene. They also investigate whether NOS1AP genetic variation is associated with impaired function and/or production of capon and capon-associated cell processes using leukocytes and circulating stem cells. 

Terry Watnick, MD 

Dr. Watnick serves as Joan B. and John H. Sadler Professor of Nephrology at University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her laboratory investigates mechanisms mediating the impact of mutations in PDK1/2 upon the vasculature. Most recently, they have identified a novel role for Pkd1 and Pkd2 in lymphangiogenesis. We found that PKD1/2 deficient lymphatic endothelial cells have decreased levels of CPT1a, a protein that is critical for fatty acid transport. This observation is clinically relevant inasmuch as ADPKD has also been associated with altered fatty acid oxidation and mitochondrial dysfunction. Their work is focused on determining whether decreases in fatty acid oxidation result in changes in gene expression that might account for the lymphatic phenotype we see in PKD null animals. This line of research has potential implications for the pathophysiology of diabetes. For example, CPT1 plays a central role in determining the fate of fatty acids in the liver. When malonyl CoA levels are high, this inhibits CPT1-mediated entry of fatty acyl CoA into mitochondria – thereby, promoting triglyceride synthesis and inhibiting ketogenesis. Conversely, when malonyl CoA levels are low, this disinhibits CPT1-mediated entry of fatty acyl CoA into mitochondria – thereby, inhibiting triglyceride synthesis and promoting ketogenesis. Dr. Watnick currently serves as Director of the NIDDK-funded Baltimore Polycystic Kidney Disease Center (P30DK090868). Dr. Watnick has extensive mentoring experience – having completed training for 9 post-doctoral fellows and mentored four undergraduates and five medical students.  One post-doctoral fellow was awarded an individual NRSA and another received a training award from the National Kidney Foundation.  Six of nine post-doctoral fellows are currently faculty at medical schools in the United States or abroad.
Paul Welling, MD Dr. Welling has recently moved to The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he serves as Joseph S. and Ester Handler Professor of Medicine, Nephrology, and Physiology. He continues to serve on the faculty of The University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he holds the title of Adjunct Professor of Physiology. Dr. Welling is an internationally recognized scientist who investigates the molecular bases of salt-metabolism, electrolyte disorders, and hypertension. His laboratory is recognized for elucidating how ion transporters in the kidney control salt balance and discovering how these molecules go awry in disorders of electrolyte homeostasis and blood-pressure. His group uses a multidisciplinary approach, combining modern methods of molecular genetics, genomics, cellular biology, and biochemistry with state-of-the-art physiological techniques in genetically engineered mice to translate genetic discoveries to mechanistic understandings of electrolyte metabolism, physiology and disease. Dr. Welling is PI on three NIH-R01 funded research programs (R01DK110375, R01DK054231, and R01DK093501), and serves as coordinator of a prestigious LeDucq Global Research Network. His programs address translational, clinically-relevant endocrinology topics that are ideal for trainees in this program. Dr. Welling has a wealth of experience training and mentoring graduate students (6 Ph.D.), post-doctoral fellows, and junior faculty in rigorous and reproducible research. All six doctoral students who completed training in his lab, and all twelve of his former post-doctoral fellows are engaged in scientific or medical careers. He is dedicated to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment in my laboratory. Currently, his lab is staffed by one graduate student, Ava Zapf (who is supported by this T32) three post-docs, three junior faculty and three staff scientists with equal number of men and women, representing six different countries. The laboratory –which also hosts many students and scientists from across the globe who visit to collaborate –provides a vibrant multinational training environment. Dr. Welling was founding director of the Graduate Program in Life Sciences, Physiology Track in Molecular Medicine, served as Graduate Program Director for the Department of Physiology extensively.  As evidenced by many awards, his outstanding teaching abilities are widely recognized.
Peixin Yang, PhD Dr. Yang is a tenured professor, director of the Center for Birth Defects Research and associate chair at the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Deputy Director of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, University of Maryland School of Medicine. His research focuses on pre-gestational diabetes-induced neural and cardiac defects. Dr. Yang leads multiple NIH R01 projects in revealing the molecular and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the induction of diabetic embryopathy. During the last ten years, Dr. Yang’s research has been continuously funded by NIDDK (R01DK083243). Dr. Yang also serves as PI on one grant from NICHD (R01HD100195) and three grants from NHLBI (R0HL131737, R01HL134368, and R01HL139060). He has extensive experience in training the next generation of biomedical science, particularly in metabolic disease and its associated complications, and has mentored (or is currently mentoring) 28 postdoctoral fellows and two graduate students. He mentored ten undergraduate and high school students, five medical students and seven junior faculty.
Zhekang Ying, PhD Dr. Ying is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Ying conducts research related to air pollution exposure-induced diabetes, focused on the role of lung inflammation and resulting abnormalities in glucose homeostasis due to exposure to ambient fine particulate matter. Dr. Ying’s research was previously supported by an R01 grant from NIEHS (R01ES024516). He currently serves as mentor for two post-doctoral trainees. Dr. Ying mentored one medical student and seven postdoctoral trainees and co-mentored two PhD students since he joined the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2013. Dr. Ying published 60 peer-reviewed papers and serves as a reviewer for several journals including Nature Communication, Circulation, Circulation Research, Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology.

Liqing Yu, MD, PhD

[T-32 Steering Committee]

Dr. Yu serves as Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Yu received doctoral degrees in 1996 from a PhD/MD program in Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, a medical school founded in 1906 by the Rockefeller Foundation. He joined the laboratory of Dr. Helen H. Hobbs in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he was appointed as an Instructor (1998-2004). His current research focuses on the role of lipolysis in thermoregulation (R01DK116496) as well as mechanisms mediating hepatic steatosis in association with obesity (R01DK111052 and R01DK120309). Dr. Yu has also served on the faculties at University of Maryland College Park (Associate Professor, 2011-2016) and Georgia State University (Professor, 2016-2018) before moving to University of Maryland School of Medicine in July, 2018. Dr. Yu participated in teaching in graduate students during his career – including specialized courses in “Membrane Traffic” course and “Lipid Droplet Cell Biology”. Currently, at University of Maryland Baltimore, he teaches graduate students in a course on Advanced Biochemistry (GPLS 709). Dr. Yu has also served as a member of many graduate students’ thesis committees and as primary mentor for two PhD students. – one whom (Dr. Lin Jia) received a K01 grant from NIH and currently serves as an Instructor at UT Southwestern. His research is supported by three grants from NIDDK: R01DK120309, R01DK111052, and R01DK116496.

Application Forms:

IMPORTANT - PLEASE READ: Application Guidelines

Online Application for Pre-Doctoral Graduate Students 

Online application for Postdoctoral Fellows 

Online application for MENTORS 

Mentors Track Record for Mentorship Form 



Barbara Kupec-Brown 
Endocrinology, Diabetes and Nutrition
University of Maryland, School of Medicine
670 West Baltimore Street, HSF III, room 4105
Baltimore, MD 21201


Phone: 410-706-6283