Research Facilities

Diana Hellman

Fellows will develop skills in the practice of and research within Pediatric Endocrinology using a wide array of outpatient, inpatient, and research resources.  Oklahoma's largest physician group, OU Children's Physicians, houses the Section of Pediatric Diabetes and Endocrinology, along with numerous other specialties. Our newly constructed Children's Diabetes and Endocrinology facilities opened on September 1, 2009, and include 22,000 square feet of consolidated space for our clinical and basic research, diabetes and endocrinology clinics, and our academic offices, all as part of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, a $30M joint initiative between the Oklahoma state legislature and philanthropy. Connected to this building is the state's only comprehensive children's hospital, The Children's Hospital, which serves as an additional resource for training fellows.  You can take a virtual tour of the hospital here.

Fellows also have access to the Children's Metabolic Research Institute (CMRI).  The program brings together some our most experienced and successful endocrinology faculty, a mission to examine causes, prevention, and cures of childhood diabetes and related metabolic problems, and state-of-the-art labs and technology to become a leading national research program in pediatric diabetes and metabolism. The Children's Metabolic Research Institute is funded with a large investment of more than $11 million dollars from the Children's Hospital Foundation, which has focused their considerable resources to emphasize pediatric diabetes and its related comorbidities.

There are separate research laboratories designed for human clinical research, cell culture, biospecimen processing and storage, and biochemical and molecular analyses. 
The clinical research spaces are designed for measuring body composition, metabolic and vascular function, exercise fitness, and for conducting clinical trials and metabolic studies.  For clinical trials and metabolic studies there are rooms available for phlebotomy, infusions, oral glucose tolerance tests, and related activities.

We have several instruments for measuring body composition in infants, children, and adults, including dual X-ray absorptiometry (GE iDXA), bioelectrical impedance (Tanita BD-418), and air displacement plethysmography (BodPod, PeaPod).

For exercise testing and training we have treadmills with cushioned decks, stationary bicycles, a handcycle, and other equipment.  We record exercise sessions and physical activity with heart rate monitors and step activity monitors, respectively.  We have indirect calorimetry systems (ParvoMedics, MedGraphics) to measure resting metabolic rate using a flow-through canopy system, energy expenditure during exercise, and aerobic fitness (VO2peak) during graded exercise tests.

For vascular function we measure arterial pulse wave velocity using the SphygmoCor XCEL instrument, and arterial compliance with the HDI/Pulsewave CR-2000 instrument.  Endothelial function can be measured via reactive hyperemic response using the Endo-PAT instrument.

The cell culture laboratory is equipped with a laminar flow hood and incubators growing cells and a preparative area for isolation of cells from tissue and microscopic observation.  There is also a cryopreservation freezer for storing cells.

The biochemistry/molecular analysis laboratory has many tools for processing cells, tissue, and blood biospecimens.  Equipment available includes glucose and HbA1c analyzers, a microplate reader for measuring plasma/serum hormones, cytokines and lipids, a real-time PCR system, and electrophoresis, blotting and imaging equipment for Western blots.  The lab includes refrigerated centrifuges, cold storage, freezer storage, deionized water source, and many other pieces of accessory equipment.

Fellows have the opportunity to learn how to successfully use of all of these research tools, no matter their starting level of familiarity.  Through the guidance of their mentor and scholarship oversight committee, fellows learn how to best utilize these resources to address their research question and interpret their findings.