DORI brings together a diverse group of researchers spanning over 15 divisions & departments across the University of Southern California.

All of Us Research Program

The All of Us Research Program has a simple mission. We want to speed up health research breakthroughs. To do this, we’re asking one million people to share health information. In the future, researchers can use this to conduct thousands of health studies. Participants must be 18 years of age and over.

For more information, please visit the website, or email us at

BrainChild Study

This study looks at the risks for diabetes and obesity in children whose mothers had diabetes during pregnancy. We hope to learn about how being exposed to diabetes in utero may affect risk for diabetes and obesity in children. In particular, we are interested in examining behavior and brain development in children whose mothers had gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Brain Response to Sugar

This study is about how the brain responds to different types of sugars. Particularly, how the brain responds to glucose, fructose, and sucrose, and how this response may be different in young people who are overweight and obese compared to those who are normal weight.

Genetics of Liver Fat (GoLF) Study

The Genetics of Liver Fat (GoLF) Study is examining how differences in genes (the “blue print” for all inherited traits) may determine why some people are more likely to develop fat in their liver and how that fat level contributes to the risk for type 2 diabetes.

Healthy Eating Through Reduction Of Excess Sugar (HEROES) Study

The USC HEROES Study is investigating the connection between the diet, genetics, and diseases in Hispanic/Latino youth. We are looking for volunteers; overweight, full Hispanic or Latino origin between the ages of 12 to 18, willing to take part in a 12-week program to improve their diet.

The study consists of 2 separate clinic visits at our research clinic at USC. Visit 1 marks the beginning of the study. Visit 2 will take place about 12 weeks later.

At these clinic visits, we will test your DNA for one specific gene, perform an MRI of the liver, run a diabetes test, other blood tests, take special measurements of body fat. The participant will then be placed at random into either HEROES Group 1 or HEROES Group 2.

  • HEROES Group 1 receives all of the nutrition education materials to
    take home at the beginning of the 12 weeks and has the option of meeting
    with a registered dietitian one time at the end of the study.


  • HEROES Group 2 receives the materials in 4 separate, in-person sessions with a registered dietitian over the course of the 12 weeks.

By participating in this study, you will receive results of the diabetes test and some lab tests. You will learn how to make healthier choices that can help reduce your risk of overweight/obesity, type 2 diabetes, and fatty liver disease. You will also help us better understand how to treat some diseases that are common in the Latino community. Additionally, we offer monetary compensation for your time and effort.

This study is supported by the National Health Institute.

If you would like to participate or would like more information, please contact our study coordinator:

Yesica Corona
Office: 323-442-4102
Cell: 323-573-0102

Mitochondrial Derived Peptides Research

The Cohen lab investigates the role that mitochondrial derived peptides play in obesity and diabetes and their possible use as novel therapeutics. 

Pinchas Cohen, MD
Office Phone: (213) 740-1354
Fax: (213) 740-5694

Sedentary Behavior and Health Outcomes Study

This groundbreaking study will examine whether past energy balance behaviors predict the metabolic response to interrupting sitting time in healthy children. We will also study the effects of the social context and home environment on these energy balance behaviors and glucose homeostasis using ecological momentary assessment and continuous glucose monitoring.

This study will inform future targeted intervention strategies to prevention or ameliorate the consequences of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.

For more information, please email us at

Type 2 Diabetes Research Program

Our studies center around strategies to improve glycemic control and quality of life for youth with type 2 diabetes.

Lily C. Chao
(323) 361-7116

Specific Research Areas of Interest

To facilitate collaboration and guide the development of the Institute, the DORI developed an initial seven research categories, to provide a forum for topical discussion and the development of collaborative pilot studies.  

These are by no means research “silos”, rather broad topics to be researched and attacked from diverse perspectives.  

Researchers meet individually and through periodic Institute retreats that offer opportunities for collaboration, learning, and pilot study funding. As the Institute develops, additional research areas will be developed.

Neuroscience & Appetite Regulation​



Behavior &

Beta-Cell Biology & Type I Diabetes

Nutrition & Environment

Health Disparities

How you can support us

Your donation supports scientists, funds cutting edge research, and the training and education of students and young researchers. Any donation amount can provide seed funding in order to obtain NIH funding, bridge NIH funding gaps, or recruit world-class faculty.