While Colorado may be the skinniest state, reports indicate that our state’s residents, both adults and children, are growing more and more obese each year, while both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have increased exponentially in our nation’s youth over the last decade. Research is now honing in on human developmental periods (in utero, neonatal, and early childhood) and environmental factors as possible culprits. To further investigate and understand the complex interplay of developmental exposure(s), genetic and epigenetic processes, and critical developmental periods in life, ColoradoSPH in partnership with the department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado have created the Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) center, where scientists will help understand the causes and identify population approaches to preventing obesity and diabetes.
Our Director & New and Existing Grants
Dana Dabelea, MD, PhD, the Conrad M. Riley Endowed Professor in epidemiology at ColoradoSPH is the LEAD center’s director. She is also the principal investigator (PI) or co-PI on seven new and existing NIH and CDC grants totaling more than $16.5 million that were brought together under the new center’s umbrella. These grants focus on:
- Epigenetic markers of in utero exposure to diabetes
- Fetal exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in utero that are known to be associated with the development of obesity-related outcomes in offspring (the ECCHO study)
- Ongoing data collection from pregnant mothers and their babies through the Healthy Start Study to understand how metabolic and behavioral factors during pregnancy and early life can contribute to the development of obesity and related health problems in children
- The landmark SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth, a national multi-center population-based study aimed at understanding the burden of diabetes and its complications among youth and young adults nationally
- The Tribal Turning Point, a study exploring a culturally-appropriate behavioral intervention to prevent type 2 diabetes in American Indian youth
- Exploring Perinatal Outcomes among CHildren (EPOCH), a longitudinal study of adolescents and their long-term health outcomes related to whether they were exposed to maternal gestational diabetes
- The Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS), a landmark trial to show that lifestyle changes or the metformin drug can effectively delay diabetes in overweight or obese American adults.
Dr. Dana Dabelea
Colorado School of Public Health