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Welcome to the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes at the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado.

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Clinical Division Faculty


 
 
 


Kimber Simmons, MD, MS

Primary Appointment: Assistant Professor of Pediatrics


My overall career goal is to become an independent physician scientist studying the clinical immunology of autoimmune disease, with a focus on type 1 diabetes (T1D), who will make a fundamental contribution to the prevention of and ultimately a cure for T1D. My current research interests are to screen children in the general population for islet autoantibodies (early T1D), hone techniques to study the immune cells that participate in the pathogenesis of T1D and participate as an investigator in prevention trials with the goal of finding an intervention that can modulate the autoimmune attack in the pancreas.

First, we can identify children early in the T1D disease course by measuring islet autoantibodies directed against insulin, GAD, IA-2 and ZnT8 in the peripheral blood. The presence of two or more of the four major islet autoantibodies in blood confers a 70% risk of developing T1D within 10 years and nearly 100% risk over time. Importantly, over 85% of children who develop T1D do not have a family history of diabetes and are often not diagnosed until they are critically ill. To screen children in the general population for early T1D, we developed methodology to measure all four major islet autoantibodies from dried blood spots on filter paper.  We are now using dried blood spot methodology to screen children aged 1 to 18 years through 9Health Fair, a well-established non-profit organization that offers medical screenings in the Rocky Mountain Region. Also, I am one of the investigators for the ASK program (autoimmune screening for kids), which seeks to screen children in the general population for early T1D and celiac disease in the general population. As these screenings continue, I am working to validate and further develop alternative methods to venipuncture for measuring islet autoantibodies.

Next, to better understand the autoimmune process in T1D, I am studying islet antigen-reactive B cells under the direction of Dr. John Cambier (PhD immunologist). High-affinity insulin-binding B-cells are normally anergic. However, in islet autoantibody positive and new-onset T1D patients, these cells are not present in the anergic compartment suggesting that insulin binding B-cells play a critical role in the development of T1D. Through NIH, TrialNet and NPOD funded projects, we aim to better characterize this cell population.
Finally, I am one of the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet investigators at the Barbara Davis Center with a specific interest in following patients who are enrolled in immune prevention trials. I plan to be active in all parts of intervention and prevention trials from enrollment to laboratory analysis of samples obtained from individuals who participate.

Publications

Education:
MD: Saint Louis University, Saint Louis, MO (2010)
Residency
: Pediatric Internship and Residency, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, Saint Louis, MO (2013)
Fellowships:
Clinical Fellowship: Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Aurora, CO (2014)
Research Fellowship: Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, Aurora, CO (2016)