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Jason K. Kim, PhD
September 18, 2016

Kim receives $4.2M NIH grant renewal


  • Medical School
Grant to be used for National Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center

Jason Kim, PhD, professor of molecular medicine and medicine, has received a $4.2 million grant renewal from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases to continue his internationally recognized research in diabetes and obesity as part of the National Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center (MMPC) Consortium.

As the program director, Dr. Kim oversees the UMass MMPC, which provides an array of sophisticated research techniques to the scientific community for the purpose of investigating mouse models of human disease.

“With increased funding from the NIH, we are excited to become a comprehensive phenotyping center able to look at the entire progression of disease,” said Kim.

The center expanded during the original 5-year NIH grant phase—$2.2 million awarded in 2011—and now includes four core focus areas: metabolism, pancreas, cardiovascular and analytical research. Its continued effort to provide a greater understanding of diabetes and obesity by collaborating with academic researchers and pharmaceutical industries worldwide positioned it to become one of only five such centers in the United States designated a National Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center by the NIH in 2016.

“This renewal will further support the growth of the center and afford opportunities that don’t just benefit scientists from elsewhere, but also our researchers at UMass because of the level of science and collaboration we’re bringing to the university,” Kim said.

The center is composed of a multidisciplinary group of investigators and leading scientists with state-of-the-art technologies at UMMS. It serves as an important resource for researchers throughout the world who use mice as model organisms to study obesity, diabetes, diabetic complications and other metabolic diseases. Scientists send their transgenic mice to UMMS, where the center investigators employ sophisticated metabolic procedures that are not readily available elsewhere. The procedures are performed in an effort to determine how specific genes either plays an important role in the development of obesity and diabetes, or how they could be used to treat or prevent disease, Kim said.

The UMass MMPC also participates in important drug trial studies with major pharmaceutical companies in coordinated efforts to identify novel therapeutic targets to treat metabolic diseases.

“The goal of the center is to advance medical and biological research by providing comprehensive characterization of transgenic mice that are developed by academic and non-academic investigators in joint efforts to understand the etiology of human disease, and to find its cure,” Kim said. “At the end of the day, our common mission is to serve the millions of diabetic people out there and work to cure diabetes.”