Core Areas of Research Support

University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute is dedicated to ensuring research support resources are available to the entire scientific community with a focus in diabetes endocrinology and its complications. This encourages new diabetes endocrinology-related projects, promotes researchers’ use of more expeditious ways to obtain the goals they are already independently pursuing in fulfilling the goals of their funded research programs, and fosters an environment at the Diabetes Institute which is attractive to new talents outside our institution, in a way that complements our existing expertise with new needed ones.  

Core areas of research support at University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute include:

Molecular Biology

A Molecular Biology Core provides the expertise, equipment and sophisticated techniques to investigators lacking this specific knowledge, but well prepared to make efficient use of the data generated through these resources.

Included in the services provided by this Core will be:

  • A functional Transgenic and Knock-out Mouse Facility able to use non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice as embryonic cell donors to better study diabetes etiopathology in a reliable animal model;
  • A facility dedicated to the isolation of pancreatic islets from both mouse and human donors, with the expertise of transplanting molecularly modified and immunologically protected islets, for example, under the kidney capsule first in the animal model and eventually in humans; and
  • A facility able to provide the vectors necessary to molecularly modify the islets to be transplanted or directly the islets of an individual at risk by gene-therapy approaches.



An Immunology Core provides the expertise and technology to enable more generalized testing of the immunologic parameters and markers with a recognized (or a potential) diabetes predictive value in the aim of getting close to the point in which the individuals at risk for the disease can be treated prophylactically with early administration of recombinant human insulin or with vaccines (e.g., modified viruses or antigens with superantigenic properties).



An Imaging Core provides the Institute members with electron microscopy, in situ hybridization and time-lapse electronic imaging capabilities for the study of mouse and human tissues modified by or protected against the diabetic pathologic process.



A Biostatistical Core provides the services of statisticians and epidemiologists who assist the investigators of this Institute in properly using the available population already included in well-established and tested registries, planning their study designs, and in correctly analyzing and presenting their data.



An Administrative Core is responsible for directing, orchestrating, advertising and supporting the stated goals of University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute. The free exchange of expertise is facilitated, equipment and resources made more available, and new young investigators fostered and more strongly supported under the auspices of the Institute.

Special seminars, training programs and workshops enhance the educational effort. The Administrative Core is responsible for the continuous acceptance and evaluation of new pilot and feasibility applications and the periodic recapitulation of the extra-mural resources obtained by each Institute-supported investigator following completion of Institute support. These types of results will testify to the success of our screening procedure and continued scientific guidance.

This Core also organizes periodic, more formal meetings in which Diabetes Institute of Pittsburgh members present their collaborative results to a Scientific Advisory Board. The Scientific Advisory Board is composed of four renowned scientists from other institutions to cover the expertise most emphasized by the Institute at a particular time. Their appointments are renewed annually to guarantee continuity, while also being continuously updated to reflect the current focus of the Institute. This opportunity will expose our investigators to suggestions and criticisms of diabetes experts from outside institutions. In turn, the Scientific Advisory Board members will be asked to present their most recent results in formal lectures open to the scientific community at large, organized as the Diabetes Conference of Pittsburgh.