Aaron Michels, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
Director of Clinical
Immunology at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes
Director, CLIA Laboratory
for Islet Autoantibody & HLA Service Center at the Barbara Davis
Frieda and George S.
Eisenbarth Clinical Immunology Endowed Chair
Photo from left to right: Stephanie Case,
Kristen McDaniel, Carol Kiekhaefer, Aaron Michels
My laboratory at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes is focused on
studying the immunology of autoimmune diseases, with a particular focus on type
1 diabetes. Having lived with type 1
diabetes for the more than 20 years, it is my career goal to contribute to the
prevention and ultimately a cure for the disease.
Currently, type 1 diabetes is a predictable disease with the measurement
of antibodies directed against proteins from the beta cell; however it is not
yet a preventable disease. Our research
focuses on understanding the underlying immunology of diabetes and how human
leukocyte antigen alleles confer disease risk and protection. We are working in
collaboration with academic and industrial partners to identify therapeutic interventions, understand drug
mechanisms, and translate relevant findings into clinical trials.
We discovered that small ‘drug-like’ molecules targeted to MHC class II
antigen presentation can block T cell responses and prevent diabetes onset in
animal models of spontaneous autoimmune diabetes. Using
results from these preclinical studies, we are translating the findings to
patients in attempts to prevent disease onset and preserve beta cell function
after diagnosis. In humans, HLA-DQ8 and/or DQ2 confer substantial disease risk
and are present in 90% of people with type 1 diabetes. We are now testing the concept of blocking a
specific MHC class II allele, HLA-DQ8, in a clinical trial with recent onset
type 1 diabetes patients (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01883804).
Principal Investigtor: Aaron Michels, MD
Fellow: CarolKiekhaefer, MD, PhD
Research Assistants: Stephanie Case,
BS; Kristen McDaniel, BS
Atkinson MA, Eisenbarth GS, Michels AW. Type 1
diabetes. Lancet. 2014 Jan 4;383(9911):69-82.
- Michels AW. Targeting the trimolecular complex. Clin Immunol. 2013 Dec;149(3):339-44.
Michels AW, Ostrov DA, Zhang L, Nakayama M, Fuse M,
Mcdaniel K, Roep BO, Gottlieb PA, Atkinson MA, and Eisenbarth GS. Structure-based selection of small
molecules to alter allele-specific MHC class II antigen presentation. Journal of Immunology 2011 Dec 1; 187(11):5921-30.
Crawford F, Stadinski B, Jin N, Michels A, Nakayama M, Pratt P, Marrack P, Eisenbarth G, and
Kappler JW. The specificity and detection of insulin reactive CD4+ T cells
in type-1 diabetes in the NOD mouse. PNAS 2011 108(40):16729-34.
To access a more complete listing of publications, please go to PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/ and use the search term Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes or enter individual author names.
Please direct inquiries to specific e-mail addresses listed within individual entries. For all other general Research inquiries, please contact: