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Pediatric Endocrinology Research Programs

The Section of Pediatric Endocrinology has a long-standing tradition of participation in investigator-initiated studies, collaborative projects, consortium-led trials, and pharmaceutical-sponsored research studies. Several faculty members are engaged in quality improvement, community engagement, and health disparity research. The Section has a robust internal research infrastructure and utilizes Children’s Wisconsin and MCW research facilities and programs. There are three experienced clinical research coordinators and a full team of research staff, including post-doctoral fellows, graduate students, and a biostatistician.

Children’s Wisconsin and MCW Research Facilities and Programs

  • Children’s Wisconsin Quantitative Health Sciences
    • Biostatistical and research support for study design, data management, and analyses of laboratory, animal and clinical studies
  • Children’s Wisconsin Pre-Grants Team to support successful grant preparation and submission
  • Children’s Wisconsin Translational Research Unit
    • Nursing care/support for IV starts, mixed meal tolerance testing and other dynamic testing, investigational drug administration, phlebotomy, sample processing, assistance with regulatory processes
  • Children’s Wisconsin Investigational Drug Services
  • MCW (CTSI) Adult Translational Research Unit
    • Available as needed to augment the Children’s Wisconsin Translational Research Unit services for measures such as bionutrition assessments, body composition (DXA), and cardiac and vascular function testing
  • Children’s Research Institute
    • State-of-the-art facility dedicated to the advancement of pediatric medical research where investigators have access to resources to support flow cytometry, histology, and genetics/genomics studies
    • Location of the Max McGee Diabetes Research Center
  • Center for Microbiome Research

Max McGee Center

The Max McGee Diabetes Research Center is an endowed research center committed to improving the quality of life of individuals with type 1 diabetes. Our research focuses on gaining a better understanding of the genetic and environmental contributors governing type 1 diabetes, further elucidating the immunological processes underlying islet-cell autoimmunity and defining unique biomarkers to better predict disease progression and allow for targeted therapeutic interventions. The McGee Center has robust intramural and extramural funding to conduct basic science research and translational and clinical trials. We are grateful for the many research participants who make our work possible and our Center’s benefactors, Max and Denise McGee.

  • The McGee Family Study is a longitudinal observational biobanking study of individuals with type 1 diabetes, their siblings, and unrelated healthy controls.Since 2003, blood samples and clinical data have been collected on > 2,800 subjects.This ongoing effort has generated a rich resource for on-going scientific discovery.
  • Basic science and animal work are focused on immune regulation of T1D through gene-editing of the non-obese diabetic mouse
  • Translational/clinical studies are directed towards those at-risk for T1D and those recently diagnosed with T1D
    • Exploration of T1D disease heterogeneity and delineation of T1D endotypes
    • Discovery of endotype-specific biomarkers and association with disease trajectory, rate of β-cell decline, and response to therapeutic interventions
    • Modulation of intestinal and systemic inflammatory pathways associated with increased susceptibility to T1D progression in those with genetic risk and with rate of β-cell decline
      • Relationship between probiotics, intestinal dysbiosis, and T1D pathogenesis
      • Role of gluten and other wheat proteins in T1D progression

Grant Funding

Faculty within the Pediatric Endocrinology Section have a long track record of successful receipt of extramural and intramural grant funding.  In 2021, the three faculty members active in the McGee Center held numerous grants from the NIH, ADA, and JDRF as Principal Investigators, totaling more than $8.6 million in active research funding.  Funding sources for members of the Section include:

Intramural: Children’s Research Institute, Advancing Healthier Wisconsin, Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin, MCW Research Affairs Committee

Extramural: National Institutes of Health (NIDDK, NIAID), American Diabetes Association (ADA), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)

Research Focus

  • The Max McGee Center is focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D)
  • Pharmaceutical-sponsored studies have focused on youth-onset type 2 diabetes and growth hormone therapy
  • Intramurally funded studies studying the cardiometabolic outcomes of non-nutritive artificial sweeteners in those with T1D and those at high risk of developing T1D
  • Intramurally funded studies assessing cardiometabolic and endothelial health outcomes in transgender individuals treated with gender-affirming hormone therapy
  • Quality Improvement research initiatives to develop hospital-based patient care protocols such as hypocalcemia s/p thyroidectomy, steroid-induced diabetes management in the setting of ALL induction chemotherapy, and congenital hypothyroidism care algorithms
  • Collaborations with primary care clinics to identify health disparities relating to the occurrence and prevention of early pediatric obesity and studying the association between genetic signature and weight in African American mothers and young children
  • Quality Improvement research on health literacy and diabetes education
  • Collaboration with non-endocrine groups studying Sickle Cell Disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Preterm Birth, Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease, Adult Cardiology