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DRC P&F Awardees

2023 DRC P&F Grants Awarded

Pilot and Feasibility Projects in Endocrinology & Diabetes

Pilot & Feasibility Program, Director: Peter Tontonoz

On behalf of the UCSD/UCLA Diabetes Research Center Pilot and Feasibility Grant Committee, the UCSD/UCLA DRC Center is delighted to announce that we have awarded 6 outstanding projects for seed funding in 2023 out of 16 superb applications. The number and quality of the applications is clear evidence for the remarkable scientific environment that exists in our universities for supporting diabetes research especially among promising young scientists. The UCSD/UCLA DRC funds four grantees per year at approximately $40,000–$50,000.

THE UCSD/UCLA DRC is Proud to Announce the 2023 P&F Awardees:

2023 Junior Faculty Developmental Award winner:

  • Tara Teslaa, Ph.D, UCLA, for the proposal “Measuring one carbon metabolic fluxes relevant to NAFLD.”

P&F awardees:

  • Emily C. Whang, MD, Ph.D, UCLA, for the proposal “Aster-mediated cholesterol transport in the intestine plays a major role in cholesterol absorption.”
  • Debora Sobreira, Ph.D, UCLA, for the proposal “Dissecting the genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes: from regulatory variants to gene function.”
  • Vira Kravets, Ph.D, UCSD, for the proposal "Role of the functional b-cell heterogeneity in pancreatic islets in T2D.”
  • Ambre Bertholet, Ph.D, UCLA, for the proposal “A thermogenic alternative to UCP1-dependent H+ current in brown adipose tissue.”
  • Robert Thomas, MD, Ph.D, UCSD, for the proposal “Epigenetic regulation of food intake behavior and body weight."

Please join us in congratulating these promising young investigators!

Past P&F Awardees


Junior Faculty Development Award winner:

  • Amit R. Majithia, MD, UCSD, for the proposal “Combining experiments of man and nature to target human insulin resistance.”

P&F Awardees:

  • Dhruv Sareen, PhD, CEDARS-SINAI, for the proposal “Functional Human iPSC-Derived Pancreatic Islets in Co-culture with Isogenic Vascular endothelial Cells.”
  • Chen Gao, Ph.D, UCLA, for the proposal “Branched-Chain Amino Acids Catabolism in Pathogenesis of Insulin Resistance: Mechanism and Therapy.”
  • Lisa Kohn, MD, PhD, UCLA, for the proposal “Epigenetics’ Role in Autoimmune Outcomes.”
  • Stephen D. Lee, PhD, UCLA, for the proposal "Central Control of Metabolism by Neuronal Very-Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor.”
  • Jeremy Pettus MD, UCSD, for the proposal “The Metabolic Effects of Disrupted Glucagon Signaling in Type 1 Diabetes.”


Junior Faculty Development Award winner:

  • Timothy O’Sullivan, PhD, UCLA, for the proposal “Determining the contribution of adipose-resident dendritic cells to obesity-associated inflammation and insulin resistance”.

P&F Awardees:

  • Celine Riera, PhD, Cedars-Sinai, for the proposal “Nociceptor sensory neurons modulate immune responses inobesity and diabetes to control metabolism".
  • Ty D. Troutman,PhD, UCSD, for the proposal “Comparative assessment of human and mouse hepatic myeloid cell diversity during nonalcoholic fatty liver disease”.
  • Jeramie Watrous, PhD, UCSD, “Microbial contributions to the development of human type 2 diabetes mellitus”.
  • Stephanie Correa, PhD, UCLA, for the proposal “Bypassing estrogen to manipulate a neural circuit that controls body weight”.
  • Zhenqi Zhou, PhD, UCLA, for the proposal “The impact of dynamin-related protein (Drp)1 on muscle metabolism and insulin action”.

All papers must cite P30 DK063491 and obtain a PMCID number from NCBI. 
Please cite the DRC Grant in all papers that utilize DRC Cores or are supported by the Pilot and Feasibility Awards:

"Our research utilized Core (or Research) support from the UCSD/UCLA NIDDK Diabetes Research Center P30 DK063491."