Raghu Mirmira PhD MD

Phone: 317-274-4145
Office: MS 2031B

Raghu Mirmira, MD, PhD

Lilly Foundation Professor in Pediatric Diabetes, Department of Pediatrics

Director: IU Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases

Professor: Pediatrics, Medicine, And Cellular & Integrative Physiology

Director: Medicial Scientist Training Program

Director: Basic Diabetes Research Group

Grad program: Cellular and Integrative Physiology

Research Interest:

It is widely known now that the prevalence of diabetes has been rising to alarming rates in the United States. The American Diabetes Association reports that almost 21 million Americans (7% of the US population) have diabetes. The pathophysiology of diabetes is complex, but it is clear that defects at the level of the insulin-producing islets underlie the development of the disorder in nearly all forms of diabetes. Thus, the Mirmira laboratory focuses on the regulation of gene transcription during pancreatic islet development, function, and survival. The projects in his laboratory fall into four main categories:

  1. Regulation of gene expression and mRNA translation in pancreatic islet cells
  2. Mechanisms of inflammation-induced islet ? cell dysfunction in type 1 and type 2 diabetes
  3. Bench and bedside testing of new inhibitors of the islet inflammatory intermediates (including 12-lipoxygenase and polyamine biosynthesis)
  4. Identification of biomarkers of islet ? cell stress in type 1 and type 2 diabetes

The research in the Mirmira lab is based on the premise that a better understanding of islet ? cell function/dysfunction will allow for the development of new strategies to preserve islet function in diabetes.

Dr. Raghu Mirmira received his bachelor's, MD, and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago. His interest in diabetes began in his PhD years, during which time he studied how insulin binds to cells to effect its actions. His PhD dissertation work recognized as one of the four best dissertations submitted throughout the entire institution, resulting in his receiving the Marc Perry Galler Award.

After completion of his MD/PhD degrees, Dr. Mirmira subsequently completed his residency in Medicine and subspecialty training in Diabetes and Endocrinology at the University of California at San Francisco. During his fellowship, Dr. Mirmira did his research training in the laboratory of Michael German, where he studied how insulin-producing beta cells form during development in the embryo. During this time, Dr. Mirmira received the prestigious Physician Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and later a Research Career Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Mirmira then joined the faculty at the University of Virginia in 2000. Since joining UVA, Dr. Mirmira has been studying how other cells in the body could be "reprogramed" to produce insulin, and thereby serve as surrogate beta cells for individuals with diabetes. He studies several transcription factors that direct the development and function of beta cells, including Nkx6.1 and Pdx1. In addition, his research has more recently focused on how chromatin structure might be modulated during the course of development to allow cells of the pancreas to differentiate into beta cells. He has received donor support and multiple grants for his research, including the Thomas R. Lee Career Development Award from the American Diabetes Association, NIH R01 grants, and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation awards. His research successes were acknowledged nationally when he was one of only 9 medical researchers in the country (and the only diabetes researcher) to receive the Discovery Health Channel Medical Honors Award, which was bestowed at a gala event at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Mirmira is currently the Eli Lilly & Co. Chair in Pediatric Diabetes and Director of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Group at Indiana University in Indianapolis. He is the Director of the Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases (recently funded in part by a P30 award from the National Institutes of Health), and is also Director of the NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program (MD-PhD program). Dr. Mirmira serves as a member of the Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases B Subcommittee of the Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Initial Review Group, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institute of Health.

Dr. Mirmira joined the Wells Center March of 2008. He currently has a research lab of 10 scientists, including physician and PhD fellows, and graduate students. He also sees patients with diabetes, teaches in the IU School of Medicine, and is an Associate Editor of the journal Molecular Endocrinology and the Journal of Diabetes and its Complications.