Welcome to the Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute (DORI) at the University of Southern California. Established in 2012, the DORI is a multi-disciplinary collaborative of investigators seeking to link basic, clinical, and public health research to advance the understanding of obesity and its relationship to type II diabetes. The Institute was designed to foster interactions across disciplinary boundaries; embrace methods and techniques from diverse fields of study; and develop effective approaches to risk assessment, prevention and treatment of the international co-epidemics of diabetes and obesity.
Message from the Directors
Obesity and diabetes have been identified as critical national and international public health issues. Obesity is now recognized as a chronic disease, closely associated with multiple conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, and some forms of cancer. It is projected that one third of children in the United States born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes within his or her lifetime. Within ethnic minorities such as Latinos and African Americans, this estimate rises to one in two children. The rising prevalence of obesity and associated conditions creates a serious, eminent threat to global wellbeing and our national health care system, with obesity-related conditions contributing an annual health care cost of $170 billion in the United States alone.
At the University of Southern California and its affiliate Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, there are over 40 investigators focused on obesity and diabetes, many of whom have been recognized as international leaders in the field. These faculty members represent both clinical and Ph.D. scientists from diverse academic fields spanning over 15 departments and divisions in the Keck School of Medicine, Viterbi School of Engineering, Dornsife College of Arts Letters and Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Ostrow School of Dentistry, Davis School of Gerontology. This diverse and highly collaborative group investigates obesity and diabetes across a full spectrum from basic and clinical sciences to genetics, health behavior, community health, environmental systems, prevention, treatment, and global health.
The Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute (DORI) unifies and offers a forum for collaboration and exchange to these investigators and existing USC research centers. The USC Childhood Obesity Research Center, founded and led by Michael Goran, Ph.D., focuses on prevention of obesity and diabetes in youth. The Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute, led by Thomas Buchanan, MD, incorporates obesity and diabetes research as a priority area, and also includes a strong program in Community Engagement, led by Michele Kipke, Ph.D. In addition, the USC Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, led by Drs. Anne Peters and Jorge Mestman, provides state of the art clinical care for diabetes and related disorders. The Saban Research Institute at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles is home to several leading experts investigating the developmental aspects of obesity in the context of studying how the brain develops to regulate eating behavior. Investigators conducting this research across USC are supported by numerous grants from various Institutes at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and now the DORI.
Whether it’s examining the genetic underpinnings of diabetes, analyzing the brain for appetite control centers, or improving diabetes treatments, or simply building a community garden, the DORI investigators are committed to linking basic, clinical, and public health research to fight the co-epidemics of type II diabetes and obesity.
Michael I. Goran, Ph.D., Thomas A. Buchanan, M.D. & Steven Mittelman, M.D., Ph.D.
Directors, USC Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute