UK Hosts 8th Annual Barnstable Brown Diabetes and Obesity Research Day

The University of Kentucky Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center held its eighth annual Obesity and Diabetes Research Day, highlighting the work of students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty from around the region. The program features presentations from nationally recognized physician-scientists, as well as researchers chosen from abstract submissions. 

Research Day provides an opportunity for investigators from the University of Kentucky and other regional institutions to share their current findings and ongoing research about the alarming rise in obesity and diabetes rates. Participants also discuss prevention and treatment of these epidemic-level diseases. 

Dr. John Fowlkes, director of the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, discussed the importance of Research Day and its impact on the community.

"Research Day serves not only as a great venue to host our UK research community to hear from nationally recognized leaders in diabetes and obesity research but also it is a forum for them to present their own research and to learn from and network with their colleagues and peers," Fowlkes said. "By including undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students in our programming, it is always encouraging and aspirational to watch the next generation of researchers emerge across our campus."  

This year's event featured three invited speakers: Dr. Amy Yaroch, director of the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition; Dr. Alvin Powers, director of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center; and Dr. Jennifer Green, professor at the Duke University School of Medicine and member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute. 

A number of UK researchers also delivered podium presentations and participated in interactive rapid-fire blitz sessions. Additionally, more than 40 posters competed for judged awards. Recipients of poster awards were: 

  • Sean Thatcher (College of Medicine) 
  • Yipeng Sui (College of Medicine) 
  • Grace Walton (College of Health Sciences) 
  • Madhur Agrawal (College of Medicine) 
  • Kayla Titialii (College of Arts and Sciences) 
  • Corey Hughes (College of Medicine) 
  • James Sledziona (College of Medicine) 
  • Jessie Hoffman (College of Medicine) 

Following the day's academic proceedings, a reception and awards banquet at the Hilary J. Boone Center recognized the outstanding science of the day and also served as an opportunity to thank the members of the Barnstable Brown family, who gave the founding donation to establish the center and remain avid fundraisers to support its work. 

At the reception, the sixth annual Fred and Maria de Beer award was presented to Dr. Michael Karpf, former executive vice president for health affairs. Under his 13 years of leadership, UK invested close to $2 billion for faculty recruitment, program development, technology acquisition as well as facilities, while also fostering partnerships with leading regional health providers across the state to extend care to those that need it.