About DORI


The USC Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute fosters cutting-edge basic, clinical, and public health research to bring advances in novel discoveries in the laboratory to real-world strategies for obesity and diabetes prevention and treatment at individual, community, national, and global levels.

Message from the Directors

Dr. Katie Page
MIchael Goran
Thomas Buchanan

From left to right: Kathleen Page, M.D., Michael I. Goran, Ph.D. & Thomas A. Buchanan, M.D.

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 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. 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.

Moreover, the USC Gehr Family Center for Health Systems Science and Innovation offers opportunities for advancements in the delivery of healthcare in obesity and diabetes, the Schaeffer Center offers research aimed at reducing health disparities, and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services offers opportunities to treat disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles. 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 diabetes and obesity.


Kathleen Page, M.D., Michael I. Goran, Ph.D. & Thomas A. Buchanan, M.D.
Directors, USC Diabetes & Obesity Research Institute

Our Goals

Guided by four strategic goals, we aim to advance scientific discovery in the field of obesity and diabetes.

1. Create an environment that fosters discourse and education
  • Host a monthly seminar series and yearly symposium with leaders in the fields of obesity and diabetes

  • Support of the Summer Program in Diabetes and Obesity Research (SPIDOR) to provide underrepresented students the opportunity to conduct cutting-edge research in the laboratories of DORI investigators

  • 2. Support and build interdisciplinary research teams and discoveries
  • Incentivize cross-disciplinary collaborations and partnerships across schools and departments within USC and across universities throughout the world

  • Sponsor an innovative, annual pilot research funding program
  • 3. Provide core infrastructure and shared resources
  • Facilitate basic and applied research relevant to the prevention and treatment of diabetes and obesity

  • Leverage collaborative workspaces across departments

  • Build and expand collective core research facilities, including the DORI Clinical Services Core, DORI Metabolic Assay Core, and Saban Rodent Metabolic Core
  • 4. Expand our ability to examine and prevent obesity and diabetes
  • Translate knowledge into practice

  • Recruit top-tier faculty

  • Fundraise to support on-going and pilot studies to advance new discoveries in diabetes and obesity research
  • Dori at a Glance