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Endocrinology - Research

The Section of Endocrinology is actively involved in research to further the understanding of endocrine problems in the developing child and to improve the diagnosis and care of these children. The primary areas of interest of faculty in the Section include:

  • Pathophysiology and psychosocial aspects of obesity and type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. The Section of Endocrinology is a recognized leader in this area of interest
  • Insulin resistance and associated morbidity in obese children and adolescents
  • Developmental aspects of insulin resistance during puberty in children with and without diabetes
  • New approaches to screening for comorbidities in obese children and adolescents
  • Development of efficient and cost-effective approaches to endocrine diagnosis to replace older stimulation testing protocols
  • Hormonal abnormalities in children with sex chromosome abnormalities
  • Hormonal abnormalities in survivors of childhood cancer and other chronic illnesses

Faculty Research Interests

Dr. Jennifer Barker collaborates with faculty and staff at the Barbara Davis Center in research regarding clustering of autoimmune disorders in patients with type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, celiac disease and autoimmune adrenal disorders.

Dr. Michael Kappy is involved in developing hormonal assessment protocols applicable to the outreach and primary care settings. He is also collaborating with members of the Section of General Academic Pediatrics on vitamin D status in children with epidermolysis bullosa.

Dr. Megan Moriarty Kelsey’s research focuses on the metabolic and hormonal changes that occur during puberty and how these changes are influenced by obesity. In particular, she is currently working on a study to examine the hypothesis that obese adolescents fail to recover their prepubertal insulin sensitivity at the end of puberty, leading to stress on the ability of the pancreas to make insulin and increasing the risk for early development of type 2 diabetes. She is undertaking a longitudinal project to compare changes in insulin sensitivity and secretion in normal weight and obese adolescents from early puberty to puberty completion, as well as to examine the impact of pharmacologic and lifestyle interventions to prevent these changes. Furthermore, she is evaluating the impact of obesity on sex differences in gonadal function and pubertal progression in these adolescents. Her research is funded by a National Institutes of Health Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health K12 grant and an American Diabetes Association Junior Faculty Award.

Dr. Kristen Nadeau is interested in clinical research, focusing on the areas of insulin resistance, obesity, and type 2 and type 1 diabetes in children. She has demonstrated reduced exercise capacity in obese, type 1 and type 2 diabetic youth, which correlates strongly with insulin resistance, as well as cardiac and vascular abnormalities in youth with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, and abnormal fat distribution (high liver, visceral and intramyocellular lipid) in youth with type 2 diabetes. She has also shown that youth with type 1 diabetes are insulin resistant, which may contribute to cardiovascular disease in these youth as it does in type 2 diabetes. Her current research is now focused on mechanisms of insulin resistance in youth with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the contribution of insulin resistance to cardiovascular disease in these youth, and other early contributors of cardiovascular disease in diabetes and obesity.

Dr. Sharon Travers' research focuses on hormonal therapy in individuals with Turner Syndrome and Prader-Willi syndrome.

Dr. Philip Zeitler is Study Chair of the TODAY study and Principal Investigator of the Colorado Clinical Center. TODAY is a national multicenter, 7-year trial examining treatment alternatives in adolescent type 2 diabetes. This trial examines approaches to the promotion of life-style change, as well as the effects of type 2 diabetes and its treatment on cardiovascular risk and psychosocial functioning among affected teenagers. In addition, Dr. Zeitler is Study Chair of the TODAY Genetics Study and the recently launched follow-up study of the TODAY cohort, named TODAY2. Dr. Zeitler is also collaborating with Dr. Nicole Tartaglia in the Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics on a study of the effects of testosterone therapy on cognitive and behavioral development of boys with Klinefelter syndrome and other sex chromosome anomalies, as well as collaborating on a study of hormonal abnormalities following radiation therapy in children with brain tumors.