DOCE researcher Greg Morton receives Novo Nordisk Award

Dr. Gregory Morton has received a Novo Nordisk Diabetes Innovation Award for his proposal “Leptin, Glucagon and Diabetes.” His is one of the first such awards in the pharmaceutical firm’s new program, dedicated to supporting exploration of novel hypotheses in nonclinical diabetes and obesity research that can further the development of therapies. Dr. Morton will receive $500,000 over 2 years, beginning December 1. He describes his study: “Recent evidence suggests that induction of hyperleptinemia fully ameliorates hyperglycemia in a rodent model of type 1 diabetes, and our recent findings implicate the brain in this effect. We have shown that this leptin effect involves a novel, insulin-independent mechanism characterized by reduced rates of hepatic glucose production and increased rates of tissue glucose uptake and establishes that the brain has the capacity to normalize blood glucose levels in uDM. These observations are distinct from any previously described CNS leptin action and support the overarching goal of this proposal to delineate the neuronal circuits and peripheral mechanisms activated by leptin that mediate its anti-diabetic effects. We propose to identify the mechanism(s) whereby leptin deficiency stimulates glucagon secretion in uDM and to establish the extent to which suppression of hyperglucagonemia contributes to leptin-mediated reversal of hyperglycemia in this setting.  These studies have the potential to identify and develop an approach to diabetes treatment that is both novel and effective.” Dr. Morton is a Research Associate Professor in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition.