History

The Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes Division (formerly known as Endocrinology and Metabolism) was founded in 1922. Our history and highlights are outlined below. 

Division Chiefs

U-M MEND past division chiefs

Peter Arvan, MD, PhD

Peter Arvan, MD, PhD

2003 - present

1916-1922

1916

  • Dr. Nellis Barnes Foster (right), who established himself as one of the leading diabetologists in the U.S. in the early 1900s, serves as head of the U-M Department of Internal Medicine. His specialty was diabetes mellitus and, in 1915, he wrote a textbook on the subject called Diabetes Mellitus Designed for the Use of Practitioners of Medicine.
  • Foster nominates and recruits Dr. Louis Harry (L.H.) Newburgh from Massachusetts General Hospital to join the U-M faculty and take charge of the metabolic ward.

1918-1922

  • Louis Newburgh, MD, serves as acting head of Internal Medicine and chairman of the committee to find Foster’s successor; as a Professor of Clinical Investigation in Internal Medicine, Newburgh focused mainly on nutrition and metabolism with specific reference to obesity, diabetes mellitus, nephritis and body water and electrolytes.
  • Dr. Newburgh and Dr. Phil Marsh treat 190 diabetic patients with the Newburgh-Marsh High Fat Diet. (Newburgh thought that Dr. Frederick Allen's Starvation Diet improved the treatment of diabetic patients, but failed to provide adequate caloric intake. After determining that increasing carbohydrate intake wouldn't work because it would result in an increase in glycosuria, or the amount of sugar in the urine, and that increasing protein intake wouldn't work because about half of it is converted to glucose, he decided to increase his patients' caloric intake by increasing the fat in their diets.)
  • In 1922, the section of Endocrinology & Metabolism is established.

1930s-1940s

1935

  • Jerome W. Conn, MD, (1907-1994), a graduate of Rutgers University (1928), received his MD from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1932 and was appointed an Instructor of Internal Medicine in 1935. He was advanced to Assistant Professor three years later, and to Associate Professor in 1944. He received the title of Professor of Internal Medicine in 1950.

1940s

  • Jerome W. Conn, MD, an expert on adrenal hormones, succeeds his mentor Dr. Newburgh as the head of Michigan’s Section of Endocrinology & Metabolism, after Dr. Newburgh left U-M for Washington, DC to aid the war effort. Dr. Conn served as the first Chief of Endocrinology & Metabolism when it became a Division, from 1943-1973.
  • Stefan S. Fajans, who received his MD at Michigan in 1942, returned to the University of Michigan in 1946 to serve as a Research Fellow for a year under Dr. Conn. Dr. Fajans had been away, serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II after completing an internship at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He went on to finish his medical residency in 1949 and then a fellowship in the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism in 1951, both at Michigan, and then accepted an assistant professorship position in the Division.

1950s-1960s

1950s

  • In 1955, Dr. Jerome W. Conn published his seminal work describing the new entity called Primary Aldosteronism (later named as Conn Syndrome).
  • In 1958, Dr. Stefan S. Fajans began studying a Michigan family that would become known as the “R-W pedigree,” who had an astonishing 74 members with a form of non-insulin-dependent diabetes. However, the disease appeared unusually early in this family — diagnosed in children and adolescents, unlike the usual onset of type 2 diabetes after age 40.
  • From 1958 to 1976, Ann Arbor Diabetic Association members diligently raise money to support diabetes research at the U-M and the Joslin Clinic in Boston. University of Michigan Drs. Stefan S. Fajans and George Lowrey serve as members and medical advisers. The Association eventually becomes a chartered ADA group.

1960s

  • Dr. Stefan S. Fajans led a team of scientists that demonstrated the involvement of amino acids in insulin release.
  • In 1964, Dr. Fajans published a paper that identified Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY), based on his research from 1958-on of the R-W pedigree family. This form of diabetes is inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion, meaning that the disease appears in approximately 50 percent of each successive generation and is due to a mutation of a single gene.

1970s

1970

  • Linda Kay Tanner Strodtman becomes one of the first three Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) at University Hospital. Linda Strodtman specialized in diabetes and eventually went on to be a key player in establishing the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center, specifically the Diabetes Center Unit. She was also extremely active in defining the general role of the CNS.

1975

  • Dr. Fajans published an important paper showing that Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) is a a type of diabetes distinct from juvenile-onset diabetes (JOD or type 1 diabetes), and similar to maturity-one type diabetes found in middle age or older groups (MOD or type 2 diabetes). The identification of MODY as a subgroup of type 2 diabetes was a major piece of the scientific understanding that within known types of diabetes there are various subsets of the disease.

1976

  • U-M faculty members, led by Stefan S. Fajans, MD, form a policy committee to look at establishing a diabetes center at Michigan. The committee begins developing plans for what will become the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center.
  • The National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases (NIAMDD) announces its diabetes research and training centers program and issues grant application guidelines. The U-M submits a grant proposal identifying 100 researchers throughout the institution who are doing work that “held interest” for diabetes.

1977

  • The U-M is awarded a five-year $4.3 million grant to create the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center (MDRTC). Michigan is one of the first five institutions in the country to receive such funding. The early days of the MDRTC: The fundamental concept behind the creation of this center was being able to conduct research and bring the knowledge gained from it directly to patients. The center was erected as more than a building. It was meant to be an organization composed of a network of “core facilities” whose joint function was to foster interdisciplinary effort in diabetes research and training. The activities of the MDRTC initially were organized into three categories: research programs, training and demonstration programs (the Diabetes Care Unit), and continuing education programs. The three main research foci in the late 1970s were basic cell regulation, natural history and genetics of diabetes, and management and treatment of diabetes. The inaugural members of the MDRTC Executive Committee included: Dr. Stefan S. Fajans, Director; Dr. John C. Floyd, Jr., Associate Director and Coordinator of Model Demonstration Unit; Dr. Roland "Red" Hiss, Coordinator of Continuing Education and Outreach Corps; Dr. Sumer Pek, Coordinator of Research Programs; Dr. Wayne K. Davis, Director of Educational Development and Evaluation Corps; Marilyn "Mickey" Cohn, Administrative Manager; Linda Kay Tanner Strodtman, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Model Demonstration Unit; Dr. George Bacon, head of Endocrinology and Metabolism, U-M Department of Pediatrics; Dr. Hansen; Dr. William E. Lands; and Mr. Howard Salmon. MDRTC Directors:  Stefan S. Fajans, MD, 1977-1987; Douglas Greene, MD, 1987-2000; William Herman, MD, MPH, 2000-2011.

1978

  • Dr. Stefan S. Fajans receives the Banting Memorial Award from the American Diabetes Association and publicly presents evidence for the heterogeneity of diabetes.

1980s-1990s

  • Dr. Stefan S. Fajans identifies Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY). U-M is one of the first medical centers to study insulin pumps as alternative delivery systems for insulin among type 1 diabetes patients.
  • Beginning in 1983, and undertaken for 10 years, U-M takes part in the largest, most comprehensive diabetes study ever conducted - the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT). A clinical study funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the DCCT showed that keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible slows the onset and progression of eye, kidney, and nerve diseases caused by type 1 diabetes.
  • U-M's pancreas transplant program is established in 1984.

1991

  • Dr. Fajans co-publishes the first paper to describe a genetic marker for MODY with collaborator Graeme Bell, PhD, currently the Louis Block Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Medicine at the University of Chicago. Dr. Fajans and Dr. Bell began working together in the late 1980s.

1993

  • Dr. D. Eduardo Schteingart founded the Millie Schembechler Adrenal Cancer Program and was its director until 2006.

1995

  • Ronald Koenig, MD, PhD, becomes director of the Michigan Medical Scientist Training Program and is made a full professor in Internal Medicine. He began his career at Michigan in 1988.

1996

  • The MODY gene is discovered. MODY is the only type of diabetes for which the inheritance is known and the responsible genes have been discovered.

1997

  • Researchers from the U-M Medical Center and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Ann Arbor publish two important diabetes studies - one showing that people who develop type 2 diabetes at an early age can substantially reduce their rates of blindness and kidney failure in later life by tightly controlling their blood sugar level (published in the Nov. 1 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine) and another indicating that it is extremely difficult for people with type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar through conventional use of insulin (published in the Nov. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Diabetes Association).

1999

  • U-M receives a landmark $6.6 million grant from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to conduct research on what causes the complications that develop from heightened blood glucose.
  • Charles Burant, MD, PhD, joins MEND following appointments at the University of Chicago and Parke Davis Pharmaceuticals in Ann Arbor. He studies the interaction between nutrients and genes in controlling insulin secretion, insulin action, and the development of type 2 diabetes and uses metabolomics (the measure of small molecules) to understand how weight and diabetes affect nutrient handling within the body.

2000s

2000

  • The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Center for the Study of Complications in Diabetes, a sister center to the MDRTC and the first of its kind to focus exclusively on the complications of diabetes, is launched within the U-M Department of Neurology.
  • The MEND Adult Diabetes Education program begins in October, with the first patient group consisting of three patients. The group was started by Cecilia Sauter, MS, RD, CDE, and Carol Tucker, NP, CDE.
  • Bill Herman, MD, takes over as Director of the MDRTC in 2000 and serves until its split in 2011.

2001

  • In March of 2001, the MEND Adult Diabetes Education program expands to 2 classes (evening and morning), and Martha Funnell was added to help. The program also initiated the Gestational Diabetes Mellitus class in the Spring of 2001.

2003

  • Peter Arvan, MD, PhD, brings his seven-member team from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City to the University of Michigan. The William K. and Delores S. Brehm Professorship for Type 1 Diabetes Research is established and Dr. Arvan is installed as its first professor. Dr. Arvan also was named the chief of the Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism.
  • The U-M launches the Family Centered Experience, a program conceived by Arno Kumagai, MD, designed to give medical students direct experience with people living with chronic diseases - diabetes patients are included in this groundbreaking program.

2004

  • William (Bill) and Delores (Dee) Brehm donate $44 million to work toward a cure for type 1 diabetes.
  • The Hospital Intensive Insulin Program (HIIP) was established (Roma Gianchandani, MD).
  • Martin Myers, Jr., MD, PhD, joins MEND from Harvard Medical School. Dr. Myers focuses on the hormone leptin in the brain and its role in the development of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. He discovered new information about the mechanisms of leptin signaling (communication) and the neurons by which leptin acts.

2005

  • The Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center (MCDC) is created, with the mission of uniting all diabetes-related academic activities on the University campus. Dr. Arvan is named as its director. The MCDC is comprised of six research centers: MDRTC, MMOC, JDRF, AMDCC, and Clinical Diabetes. Later, the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research is added (established 2010 with the opening of the Brehm Tower).
  • The Endocrinology & Metabolism Division’s name is changed to the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes (MEND).
  • William H. Herman, MD, MPH, was installed as the first Stefan S. Fajans, MD/GlaxoSmithKline Professor of Diabetes.
  • Gary Hammer becomes the first Millie Schembechler Professor of Adrenal Cancer.
  • Michigan Metabolomics & Obesity Center (MMOC) is launched by Charles Burant, MD, PhD.

2006

  • Dr. Charles Burant was named the first Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Professor of Metabolism.
  • Podiatrist Crystal Murray Holmes, DPM, CWS, is hired and the MEND Podiatry Clinic opens.
  • Massimo T. Pietropaolo, MD, joins U-M from the University of Pittsburgh to serve as a faculty member in MEND, the Center for Computational Medicine and Biology, the Graduate Program in Immunology, and the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Pietropaolo is one of our only type 1 diabetes researchers. His work evaluates the role of autoimmunity in the development of type 1 diabetes, such as how T-cell responses cause pancreatic beta cell destruction. He also works on developing new biomarkers to facilitate major clinical trials for evaluating new approaches to understanding, preventing, and treating type 1 diabetes.
  • Bill Herman, MD, MPH, wins the ADA’s Kelly West Award for Outstanding Achievement in Epidemiology.

2007

  • John C. Floyd Fellows Memorial Lecture in Endocrinology established.
  • The U-M/MCDC World Diabetes Day observance began as an evening event hosted by Adult Diabetes Education and MCDC Marketing Communications. It consisted of two concurrent lectures for the public, one on type 1 diabetes and the other on type 2 diabetes. The event grew in subsequent years to a large daytime health fair with three dozen exhibits and a wide array of lectures.

2008

  • Marilyn H. Vincent Professorship in Diabetes Research established and Martin Myers, MD, PhD, installed.
  • Pre-Conception Pregnancy Planning Clinic for women with diabetes launched (Jennifer Wyckoff, MD, and Cecilia Sauter, MS, RD, CDE).

2009

  • Endocrine Oncology Program designated a "destination program" by the University of Michigan Health System.
  • Investigational Weight Management Clinic established by Charles Burant, Amy Rothberg, and William Herman.
  • Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi, MD, joins MEND from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  Dr. Bernal is known for studying the signaling pathways that regulate the birth, life, death, and function of pancreatic islet beta cells.
  • U-M Brehm Investigators named: Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi, Joyce Lee, Leslie Satin, Malcolm Low, Peter Dempsey, Massimo Pietropaolo, Peter Arvan, and Santiago Schnell.
  • The new Metabolism, Endocrinology & Diabetes / Podiatry Clinic opens at Domino's Farms, Lobby C, combining the former MEND clinics in University Hospital's Taubman Center and Briarwood Building 2. The enormous new clinic is a 23,000-square-foot facility with 24 outpatient exam rooms, offering more space to treat and educate even more patients. Other features offered include specialized endocrine testing services, a podiatry suite with dedicated exam rooms and treatment area, retinal scans for patients with diabetes that can be done on-site and sent to ophthalmologists, a Pre-Conception Pregnancy Planning program for patients with diabetes, a new Comprehensive Weight Management Program, an on-site blood-draw station, and increased exposure to participate in research studies and clinical trials.

2010

  • The Brehm Tower is built, an innovative new $132 million, 222,000-square-foot facility that houses the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research, along with an expansion of the W.K. Kellogg Eye Center. The Brehm Center for Diabetes Research unites U-M diabetes scientists from around the University in the search to prevent and reverse all forms of diabetes. The Brehm Center spaces were specifically designed to encourage collaboration among the multidisciplinary researchers, with features such as open lab layout, shared procedure and equipment areas, a central connecting staircase, a large multipurpose area and break room, and centrally located lab services. The Brehm Center comprises 33,000 net square feet in two floors of the new building.
  • Inaugural Stefan S. Fajans Lecture in Diabetes.
  • Bernal-Mizrachi, MD, installed as Larry D. Soderquist Professor.
  • Martin Myers, Jr., MD, is awarded the ADA’s Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award and the Oppenheimer Award from the Endocrine Society for his studies of leptin and the role it plays in obesity.
  • Transition Clinic established for 18-year-old type 1 patients to go from pediatric care to adult care.
  • Michigan Nutrition Obesity Research Center launched when Charles Burant, MD, PhD, received a NIH $5.7 million grant.
  • Post-Bariatric Surgery Clinic established with Elif Oral, MD, as director and Andrew Kraftson, MD, as co-director.
  • The Endocrine Oncology Program, of which Gary Hammer, MD, PhD, is the director, was selected to be a UMHS Destination Program in 2010.
  • Gary D. Hammer MD, PhD, is appointed as director of the U-M Center for Organogenesis.

2011

  • The NIH announces a reorganization of the national Diabetes Research and Training Center program into the Center for Diabetes Translational Research (CDTR) and Diabetes Research Center (DRC). Bill Herman applies for a CDTR grant and receives a perfect score.
  • Dr. Fajans publishes a paper at 93 years of age with Graeme Bell: “MODY: history, genetics, pathophysiology, and clinical decision making” in Diabetes Care, 2011 August.
  • Richard Auchus, MD, PhD, a world-class steroid biologist, joins MEND as Program Director of our endocrine training program. Dr. Auchus brings a balance of basic science and clinical/translational science interests.

2012

  • Michigan Regional Comprehensive Metabolomics Resource Core (MRC2) launched (Dr. Charles Burant).

2013

  • Jerome W. Conn Professorship established and Bill Rainey installed. 
  • The Michigan Diabetes Research center (MDRC) grant approved by the NIH in early 2013. Dr. Martin Myers is the DRC’s director and Dr. Christin Carter-Su is assistant director.
  • Diabetes “Cure” Clinic launched (Drs. Rothberg and Herman).
  • Personalized Diabetes Clinic started (Dr. Israel Hodish).
  • Comprehensive Wound Care Clinic opens (which includes our Podiatry Service for diabetic wound care).
  • MEND Call Center opens in the Domino’s Clinic.
  • The MEND Endocrinology Fellowship Program adds a Research Track and defines its other track as the Clinician-Educator Track.

2014

  • Metabolic Bone Disease Clinic launched after Gregory Clines is recruited as the first bone researcher in the MEND Division. Drs. Palak Choksi and Liselle Douyon also staff the service.
  • Inaugural Schteingart Lecture in Endocrinology on June 27, 2014. Honors MEND Emeritus Professor D. Eduardo Schteingart, MD, who passed away in 2013.