Human Physiology

David D’Alessio, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Endocrinology. Dr. D'Alessio has a primary research interest in the regulation of glucose tolerance and abnormalities that lead to type 2 diabetes. Work in his lab is directed at the interplay of circulating glucose, GI hormones and neural signals to control insulin secretion. The focus is the gut peptide GLP-1 and its role in normal physiology, type 2 diabetes and bariatric surgery. He and his colleagues do physiologic studies of insulin secretion in humans and complement these with mechanistic studies in animal models.

Jenny Tong, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine. Dr. Tong has a broad interest in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and obesity and is the PI for several ongoing clinical investigations designed to clarify the role of ghrelin, an orexigenic gut hormone, in the regulation of glucose and energy homeostasis in humans. She is also leading studies to investigate the contribution of tissue-specific ghrelin signaling to the effects of ghrelin on islet cell function, glucose tolerance, and energy intake in rodents. Dr. Tong uses a translational approach to study the effect of ghrelin on olfaction and food seeking. She is experienced in performing studies to measure insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, food intake, body composition and energy metabolism in rodents and humans. She is also knowledgeable about biostatistics and epidemiologic methods. Her research has been funded by the NIH/NIDDK since 2007. She has a well-equipped laboratory located at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute that can perform a wide range of assays to quantify gut hormones, islet hormones and adipokines. The objectives of her current R01 projects are to better understand the role of acyl and desacyl ghrelin in the regulation of glucose metabolism in healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes.

Thomas J. Weber, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine. Dr. Weber's work is centered on translating cellular and molecular findings into pertinent clinical and therapeutic applications in a variety of mineral and bone disorders. His past work contributed to a mechanistic understanding of X-linked hypophosphatemic rickets (XLH) and to current clinical trials of a novel and targeted therapy in XLH patients. He is also currently investigating the role of ex vivo calcium sensing by parathyroid tumor cells in predicting phenotypic manifestations in patients with primary hyperparathyroidism.