Marian Rewers, MD, PhD
Professor of Pediatrics, Clinical Director of BDC
Dr. Rewers is directing a clinical team of 20 physicians and over 150 ancillary and research staff serving a population of 6000 children and adults with type 1 diabetes, mostly from the Western U.S.
Dr. Rewers' primary goal is to identify environmental causes of autoimmune diabetes and to translate these findings into prevention. He is the principal investigator of large NIH-funded prospective cohort studies. The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY) has screened for diabetes genes over 31,000 newborns from families where nobody has diabetes as well as over 1,800 young relatives of people with the disease. Over 2,500 high-risk infants have been followed for up to seventeen years to learn how genes and the environment interact to trigger the onset of type 1 diabetes. In DAISY participants, certain genetic backgrounds, early dietary exposures, and infections have been found to be associated with diabetes. Based on this model, the National Institutes of Health funded a multi-center consortium - The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) that includes centers from Colorado, Washington, Georgia/Florida, Germany, Finland, and Sweden. Dr. Rewers is heading the Colorado center as well as co-chairing the Steering Committee of TEDDY. This is the most comprehensive effort ever funded to identify environmental triggers of Type1 diabetes. This study has screened over 424,000 newborns and is following 8,677 of those with the highest risk genes. All of the centers are collecting the same information about the viruses, dietary factors, immunizations, and stressors in the lives of children in the study to determine the factors that could be changed to prevent diabetes.
In the project Genetic and Environmental Causes of Celiac Disease – the first population study of celiac disease in the U.S., funded since 1995 - Dr. Rewers studies the occurrence of celiac disease, affecting 10% of patient with type 1 diabetes and up to 30% of those with the HLA-DR3,DQB1*0201 genes.
In 2000, Dr. Rewers initiated a study of early detection of heart disease in 1,400 adult patients with type 1 diabetes and controls to better define the causes of premature heart disease and other long-term complications in patients with type 1 diabetes. This Coronary Artery Calcification in Type 1 (CACTI) Study is using electron beam computed tomography to detect and monitor progression of calcification of coronary arteries. This study has discovered a number of novel genetic, metabolic, and inflammatory factors of potential importance to prevention of diabetic complications.
In recognition of his research endeavors, Dr. Rewers received the American Diabetes Association Michaela Modan Memorial Award and the Kelly West Award for outstanding achievements in epidemiology of diabetes. Dr. Rewers served as the ADA Council and Program Chair, during 1996-2001 and as the Associate Editor of Diabetes Care, 2001-2009. He also serves as the director of the Clinical Investigation Core for the UC Denver Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center.