Karin Hickey, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Biography

Dr. Hickey was born and raised in Romania. She attended medical school in her hometown, Cluj Napoca. After moving to the United States, she completed her Internal Medicine Residency at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Chicago, a Chief Residency year at West Suburban Medical Center in Chicago and her Endocrinology and Metabolism Fellowship at Washington University in Saint Louis. She has a dual appointment with the Divisions of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, and Medical Oncology. Her clinical interest is cancer patients with various endocrine disorders such as steroid-induced diabetes, osteoporosis, and immunotherapy related endocrinopathies.

Research Interests

There is no consensus regarding optimal peri-operative steroid management of patients with pituitary adenomas or cysts undergoing pituitary surgery. Patients undergoing pituitary surgery often receive “stress” doses of glucocorticoids around the time of surgery to prevent adrenal insufficiency, but compelling data to support the routine use of peri-operative steroids are unavailable. Given the pleiotropic adverse effects of steroids, appropriately avoiding glucocorticoid use could decrease peri-operative complications. We are conducting a pilot prospective study to test the hypothesis that withholding glucocorticoids in patients with an intact hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis undergoing transsphenoidal surgery is safe.

The incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus is increasing rapidly on a worldwide basis. Abnormalities in the islet beta cell and insulin secretion play a central role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Based on previous studies with xenin-25, our hypothesis is that defective neural signaling to islets is the primary defect that leads to development of diabetes. We are studying the effects of xenin, GIP and GLP-1 on insulin secretion in humans.