Metabolic Insights for Diabetic Complications

Friday, October 18, 2013 - 2:00pm
Fung Auditorium, Powell Focht Bioengineering Hall
Kumar Sharma

Professor of Medicine and Director, Center for Renal Translational Medicine and the Insitute of Metabolic Medicine
University of California, San Diego

Metabolic Insights for Diabetic Complications


Diabetic kidney disease is a leading contributor to morbidity and mortality in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Although diabetic kidney disease is the number one cause of end-stage renal disease, there are few biomarkers and therapies available to arrest the disease. We have used a targeted metabolomics approach to identify a metabolomic signature in patients with diabetic kidney disease. Bioinformatic analysis with Cytoscape and biochemical classification revealed a novel pathway to potentially explain diabetic kidney disease. Additional studies with kidney biopsies and with animal studies provided added support for a new theory implicating mitochondrial reduction as a key contributor to onset and progression of this important diabetic complication.


Dr. Sharma is Professor of Medicine and the Director of Center for Renal Translational Medicine and the Institute of Metabolomic Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Sharma is a leading translational researcher whose major area of interest is diabetic complications and kidney disease. His studies have identified several key mediators of early and progressive kidney disease associated with diabetes and obesity. His landmark studies demonstrating the role of the growth factor, TGF-b, have led to the development of clinical applications using approaches to block TGF-b for human diabetic nephropathy. In addition, Dr. Sharma has been involved in his own anti-fibrotic approaches for patients with advanced diabetic nephropathy and recently completed an NIH-funded randomized clinical trial. Dr. Sharma’s group has identified a key role for the hormone adiponectin to play a role in early proteinuria associated with obesity. As part of the search for biomarkers for diabetic kidney disease, he has employed genomic, proteomic and metabolomic methods coupled with systems biology approaches. With breakthrough data with metabolomics and a new understanding of diabetic complications, he has helped to launch metabolomic initiatives for many complex diseases. Recently, he has also founded a startup company, ClinMet, Inc. to support drug development for big Pharma using metabolomics. His studies have been published in the JCI, PNAS, JBC, PlOS-Medicine, JCB, AJP-Renal, JASN and Kidney International. He was recently appointed as Chair of the ISN Nexus Symposiums. He has continuous NIH funding since 1996 and his research is also supported by the ADA and the JDRF.