Endocrinology Research

Pediatric endocrinology faculty are involved in both basic and clinical research. The Division of Pediatric Endocrinology works with laboratories in other departments and institutions, providing fellows an opportunity to expand their research interests and learning opportunities.

Research within the Division is grouped into several main themes:

  • Perrin White, M.D., has studied several genetic diseases of steroid hormone biosynthesis and metabolism including the most common forms of congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Recently he has concentrated on translational research including studies of gene expression in white blood cells from children with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and a pilot study of a potent anti-inflammatory agent, anakinra, in patients with new-onset Type 1 diabetes.

  • Soumya Adhikari and Kathryn Sumpter have conducted a pilot study of a powerful anti-inflammatory agent – anakinra – in children with new-onset Type 1 diabetes to see if it might be safely used to prolong the honeymoon period in which some insulin secretion remains. Additional studies are planned with a more powerful related agent.
  • Dr. Ellen Grishman is studying the relationship between blood glucose control, quality of life, bullying, and executive function in patients with type 1 diabetes. She is also examining the relationship between a blood biomarker and depressive symptoms in obese adolescents.

  • Olga Gupta
    Olga Gupta, M.D.
    The central goals of Dr. Olga T. Gupta’s research are to better understand the psychosocial mechanisms leading to poor adherence to diabetes self-management tasks in young individuals with type 1 diabetes mellitus, and to develop novel behavioral interventions that are safe and effective for this population. Her recent publications on this topic revealed a clinically and statistically significant change in HbA1c at 3 months for the adolescent participants who received the intervention (a pet fish with instructions for pairing fish care with diabetes self-management tasks) compared with their peers in the control group (usual care).  (Maranda et al., The Diabetes Educator, 2015). This work was featured on an NIH podcast and in The New York Times Well Section. She also demonstrated that youth who actively care for at least one household pet were 2.5 times more likely to have good glycemic control compared to children who didn’t care for a pet (Maranda and Gupta, PLoS ONE, 2016). Dr. Gupta has a firm commitment to serving pediatric patients with diabetes and through her research she strives to have a positive impact on the health of this population.
  • Dr. Nivedita Patni has published a novel syndrome of generalized lipodystrophy associated with pilocytic astrocytoma, and continues her research work at the Center for Human Nutrition at UT Southwestern Medical Center to determine the etiology of this syndrome. She is also doing clinical research on pediatric patients with Familial partial lipodystrophy, Dunnigan variety (FPLD2), to gain a thorough understanding of the molecular basis of fat loss and insulin resistance in laminopathies, which will also shed light on the relationship between obesity, aging, and insulin resistance. She is also working on determining genetic basis of lipid disorders in children and investigating the genotype-phenotype relationships in these patients. She designed a study to determine Genetic Bases of type 1 hyperlipoproteinemia (T1HLP) and received a Service Package Grant from the Center for Translational Medicine at UT Southwestern. She is also spearheading a clinical trial to evaluate the Efficacy of Orlistat for the Treatment of T1HLP and studying various etiologies of Extreme Hypertriglyceridemia in Children.
  • Dr. Ximena Lopez’s studies focus on the long-term outcomes of mental and physical health of transgender adolescents that receive puberty suppression and cross-sex hormones before adulthood. She is also involved in clinical trials on the efficacy and safety of colesevelam and liraglutide, respectively, in the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adolescents.