Brian T. Layden, MD, PhD
- Instructor in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine
- Northwestern PSTP graduate, 2010
- Jameson Research Prize Recipient
- click here to view pdf
What are your research and clinical interests?
My research interests focus on understanding how type 2 diabetes develops. When our patients become obese, they are at risk of developing insulin resistance which predisposes them to type 2 diabetes. During the development of obesity and insulin resistance, pancreatic islets adapt and increase their capacity to secrete insulin. However, type 2 diabetes results when incomplete islet adaptation occurs. My research has identified two novel receptors and the molecules that activate them as being involved in the response of pancreatic islets to insulin resistance.
My current studies are addressing the role of these novel signaling pathways in normal and pathological states such as type 2 diabetes. I became interested in this research because obesity and type 2 diabetes are major health problems in our society, I am interested in identifying novel pathways involved in how obesity develops into type 2 diabetes. In particular, I am interested in how pancreatic islets are involved in this process. Ultimately, the goal of my research is to find pathways that can be targeted for the development of novel drugs to treat type 2 diabetes.
Where do you see your career heading, short and long term?
My short term goals are to focus my research on understanding how these pathways regulate pancreatic islet function in type 2 diabetes. My long term goals are to become involved in identifying other novel pathways involved in islets adaptation to insulin resistance with the goal of discovering novel therapeutic targets for type 2 diabetes. I enjoy the supportive and collaborative clinical and research environment that has been established in the Department of Medicine, as well as in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine. Also, I am deeply appreciative to the support I have received from both the Department of Medicine and my Division as I start my career.
Are you engaged in medical teaching?
While at Northwestern, I have mentored two undergraduate students and one medical student in the laboratory. Each of them has contributed significantly to our research and, consequently, each has published a peer-reviewed article with us. Currently, there are two undergraduate students and a senior lab technician working with me and I am interested in having other students to mentor that are interested in diabetes research. Also, I work with the fellows and rotating residents in the endocrinology clinic twice a week.
When not working, I enjoy spending time with my kids and traveling. I also enjoy running and playing tennis with my family.
I grew up in Chicago, and I have done most of my training from undergraduate studies until now in Chicago. I currently live in the western suburbs with my wife, Angela and our 4 year old daughter, Claire and our 3 year old son, Andrew.