Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences [Endocrine Program]


6th Annual Pioneers in Endocrinology Workshop

Diabetes was the theme of the 6th Annual Pioneers in Endocrinology Workshop held on September 17, 2013, at the Busch Campus Center. The workshop was sponsored by the following partners: the Rutgers Endocrine Program; Rutgers NJAES Cooperative Extension; Department of Animal Sciences of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS); Rutgers-RWJMS Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition; New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health; and New Jersey Obesity Group.

Dipak Sarkar
(director, Endocrine Program, and professor, Animal Sciences) welcomed over 170 participants and spoke highly of the legacy of Allan H. Conney, who had registered for this workshop but passed away on September 10. A world-renowned cancer researcher and pharmacologist, Professor Conney was the Director of the Susan Lehman Cullman Laboratory for Cancer Research at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and one of Rutgers’ most distinguished faculty members. After a moment of silence for Dr. Conney, Dr. Sarkar introduced Christopher Molloy (interim chancellor, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences), who also welcomed the group to the workshop and praised Dr. Conney’s contributions in the advancement of cancer preventive treatments.

Bob Goodman
(executive dean, SEBS), focused his opening remarks on his personal memories of Dr. Conney. Peter Amenta, the new dean of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was introduced by Louis Amorosa (chief, RWJMS Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Nutrition).

Following these opening remarks, Dr. Amorosa introduced Jesse Roth, MD, FACP, Head and Investigator, Laboratory of Diabetes & Diabetes Related Disorders, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Professor of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Roth’s presentation was entitled "Metabolic Syndrome 2013 – By the dawn's early light” and in it he pointed out that diabetes has become one of the most prevalent diseases in this century. He also gave a historical background of the research that led to a better understanding of this disease and pointed out some recent research developments that have great potential to cure this disease and/or to prevent its progression. A question-and-answer session following this talk was led by Carol Bagnell (chair, Animal Sciences).

Sue Shapses
(professor, Nutritional Sciences, and director, New Jersey Obesity Group) introduced the second speaker, Gerald I. Shulman, M.D., Ph.D., George R. Cowgill Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology) at Yale University and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Shulman’s presentation was titled “Cellular Mechanisms of Insulin Resistance: Implications for Obesity, Lipodystrophy, Type 2 Diabetes.” His talk focused on the use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy to identify the signaling pathways that go awry in diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Following this talk, Larry Katz (director, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, and professor, Animal Sciences) led a question-and-answer session. After a brief note of thanks by Dr. Sarkar, the participants enjoyed a healthy luncheon.

The afternoon featured 46 posters reporting state-of-the-art endocrine research being conducted at Rutgers. All posters that had students as first authors were carefully reviewed by judges, and three students received New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition, and Health “Student Achievement Awards” in recognition of their excellence in research. The winners were graduate students Meredith Camp (Endocrinology & Animal Biosciences; Bagnell lab) and Juliet Gotthardt (Nutritional Sciences; Campbell lab) as well as Ankush Rakhut, a Livingston High School senior who has worked in the Sarkar lab during the past two summers.

The following companies sent representatives who had booths in the Fireside Lounge, where the posters were displayed: Millipore; R&D Systems; BioExpress; Dynalon Labware; and Life Technologies. Their financial contributions to the workshop were much appreciated – especially by the student attendees, who enjoyed a free lunch!

Faculty participated in an afternoon round-table meeting with the two speakers.
To learn more about the Rutgers Endocrine Program and next year’s Pioneers in Endocrinology Workshop, contact Dipak Sarkar. Additional photos will be displayed on the program website.

Clockwise from top left: Following opening remarks by Dipak Sarkar, the workshop participants heard welcoming remarks by Christopher Malloy, Robert Goodman, and Peter Amenta.

Drs. Jesse Roth (left) and Gerald Shulman reported on their own research and discussed the pioneering work of others in the field of diabetes.

The afternoon poster session was held in the Fireside Lounge of the Busch Campus Center.

Students receive congratulations from Dipak Sarkar for their prize-winning posters (from left): Meredith Camp, Ankush Rakhut (and coauthor Yatee Dave), and Juliet Gotthardt.

Photo Credits:  The photo of Juliet Gotthardt was taken by Tracy Anthony (Nutritional Sciences); all other photograph were taken by Kathy Manger (Animal Sciences).


Remembering Dr. David Barker, a True Pioneer

Faculty, postdocs, and students who attended the 4th Annual Pioneers in Endocrinology Workshop: “Developmental Programming of Adult Disease” in September 2011 remember listening to the riveting presentation of David J. P. Barker, M.D., then a 73-year-old Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Southampton, UK. Titled “Chronic Disease Originates in the Womb,” his lecture told the story of the development of what is now known as the Barker hypothesis. Many of the workshop participants recall the conversations they had with Dr. Barker during the poster session or at lunch. The pioneering epidemiologist passed away on August 27, 2013, and we are grateful for our memories of his visit to campus!

Dr. Barker was the first to demonstrate that low birth weight infants are at greater risk for developing coronary heart disease in adulthood. He subsequently showed that they are also at greater risk of stroke, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. This led to his hypothesis that malnutrition in the womb and during infancy results in altered programming that permanently changes physiology and metabolism. During his talk at the 2011 Pioneers in Endocrinology Workshop, David Barker argued that public health medicine is failing and that its cornerstone should be to protect the health and nutrition of young women before and during pregnancy to prevent chronic disease later in life.

Contributed by Drs. Dipak Sarkar, Sue Shapses, Lou Amorosa, Carol Bagnell, and Kathy Manger

David Barker discusses maternal programming with Carol Bagnell (chair, Animal Sciences) and Kathleen Rahman (graduate student, Endocrinology and Animal Biosciences) and chats with Dipak Sarkar (director, Endocrine Program) during the poster session of the 2011 Pioneers in Endocrinology Workshop, sponsored by the Rutgers Endocrine Program. A true pioneer, Dr. Barker passed away last August.

(Photo credit: Kathy Manger, Animal Sciences)

Useful Links