Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD

Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD

Adolphus Busch Professor of Medicine, Professor of Cell Biology & Physiology and Chairman, Department of Medicine

Research Interests

My laboratory has a long standing interest in studying the role of the b-cell in the pathophysiology of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). A number of experimental approaches are being used. Techniques of clinical investigation are being applied in the Clinical Research Center to study different genetic forms of NIDDM. We have determined that defects in insulin secretion can be detected prior to the onset of clinical diabetes in certain forms of early onset NIDDM, termed MODY (maturity onset diabetes of the young), suggesting that the b-cell defect represents the primary cause of the disease in these syndromes. Different genetic mutations have been demonstrated to cause characteristic effects on the dose response relationships between glucose and insulin secretion. We also have defined defects in insulin secretion in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance and are currently attempting to determine if they are reversible with clinical interventions that reverse the glucose tolerance.

A number of animal models also bear similarities to forms of diabetes that occur and we have developed experimental techniques which allow these models to be studied in detail. These include the isolated perfused pancreas from rat and mouse, isolated perfused rat and mouse islets, measurements of intracellular calcium in pancreatic islets and insulin secreting cell lines, and measurement of levels of expression of various cHTTP/1.1 100 Continue ell genes. These techniques are being used to define the alterations in b-cell function that occur prior to the onset of overt hyperglycemia as well as to understand the pathophysiology of altered-cell function in specific transgenic and gene knockout models.

Awards and Honors

1993 American Federation of Clinical Research Young Investigator Award

1994 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award of the American Diabetes Association (Lilly Award)

1995-1999 Louis Block Professor of Medicine

1996 Roerig Pfizer Visiting Professor, University of Washington

1997 Connaught Novo-Nordisk-McGill Lecturer, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

1997 National Institutes of Health MERIT Award

1998 David Pyke Visiting Professorship, Kings Diabetes Center, Kings College Hospital, London

1998 Harold Rifkin Visiting Professor, Montefiore Medical Center & Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York

1999 Kroc Lecturer, University of Alabama, Birmingham

2000 Kroc Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia

2001 Priscilla White Lecturer, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, MA

2002 Kroc Lecturer, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

2003 Kroc Lecturer, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

2005 State of the Art Lecturer, American Diabetes Association 65th Scientific Sessions, San Diego, CA

2006 Elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences