Department of Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology

The Department of Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology is pioneering efforts to investigate biological mechanisms involved with the development of type 1 and type 2 diabetes — and ways to manipulate those processes. Our findings may lead to therapies that can reverse or prevent these diseases, as well as tools for early detection.
The department was established in 2015 by founding chair Debbie C. Thurmond, Ph.D., holder of City of Hope’s Ruth B. & Robert K. Lanman Chair in Gene Regulation and Drug Discovery Research and director of the Arthur Riggs Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute.
Operating within the Arthur Riggs Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute at City of Hope, our multidisciplinary team incorporates expertise in molecular and cellular biology, physiology, biochemistry and pharmacology. Our scientists have earned grant support from the National Institutes of Health, JDRF, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. As a hub for research, we also are proudly funded by The Wanek Family Project for Type 1 Diabetes at City of Hope.
We approach the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes by exploring the communication between organs—down to the molecular level. By developing ways to foster healthy insulin production, these studies also hold promise for fighting type 1 diabetes as well. Because diabetes shares mechanisms in common with certain malignancies, some of our studies also have implications for combatting cancer.
One key priority in our department is spanning from the laboratory to translational research. Collaboration is key for us — within the department, within the Arthur Riggs Diabetes and Metabolism Research Institute and within City of Hope, as well as with colleagues at other academic medical centers.
A key enabling factor for our team-based strategy is our physical environment. All faculty work in open-lab configurations within the Leslie & Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Diabetes & Genetic Research Building, making it easy to consult and connect. And our alliance with our neighbors in City of Hope’s Islet Cell Transplantation Program create special opportunities for our discoveries to improve the health of diabetes patients faster.