For a group of local high-schoolers with type 1 diabetes (T1D), a private tour of the Berrie Center diabetes research labs led by Rudy Leibel, MD, Christopher J. Murphy Professor of Diabetes Research and Co-Director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center was an opportunity to learn about diabetes research and about the man leading the charge to find a cure at the Berrie Center.
“How did you get into this field?” asked one participant.
Dr. Leibel, a pediatrician also trained in endocrinology, explained, “I saw a lot of children with diabetes and other problems related to it and got interested in it to try to help to prevent it. I was also interested in obesity, which is very common in people with type 2 diabetes. I decided to do research related to both obesity and the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.”
Dr. Leibel said that he is certainly aware of the difficulties patients encounter in the management of their diabetes on a daily basis. And while no one in his family is affected, he has dedicated his career to finding a cure.
“How many of you are planning to help us?” Dr. Leibel asked the group.
Dr. Leibel informed the group about strides being made with the bionic pancreas, research taking place to create insulin-producing cells from skin cells, and to create insulin-producing cells in the gut. After leading a group discussion on the innovative diabetes research taking place at the Berrie Center, Dr. Leibel took the teens on a tour of a Berrie building 6th floor research lab.
“These kids are bright and very well informed about the management of their diabetes. Their questions and comments bespeak a level of curiosity and desire to help in finding answers to their disease that are an inspiration to my associates and me. “
The tour was part of the Berrie Center’s teen program which helps empower and connect teens living with type 1 diabetes.