Division of Metabolic Health & Disease


It is increasingly recognized that common pathogenic pathways are responsible for certain cardiovascular diseases (atherosclerotic disease, heart failure) and metabolic diseases (obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes). When considered together, these cardiometabolic disorders are by far the most common cause of preventable death in the United States and represent the largest cost-burden to our health care system. The scientific goal of the Division of Cardiometabolic Health (CMH) is to understand the underlying causes of disease in order to create novel diagnostic algorithms and therapeutic interventions. The Division of CMH is composed of innovative investigators who are experienced in translational research, and who collaborate with other ONPRC and OHSU investigators as well as internationally-recognized experts. These investigative teams are addressing the worldwide health epidemic of cardiometabolic disease through multidisciplinary science involving multiple organ systems.

Specific areas of research include:

  • Primate-specific mechanisms of islet function and dysfunction
  • Microvascular function in obesity and insulin resistance
  • Therapeutic interventions for obesity
  • Nutritional and sex hormone regulation of adipose function
  • Metabolic regulation of hematopoietic stem cells
  • Neuroendocrine control of appetite and glucose homeostasis
  • Endothelial-specific pathways in atherogenesis and ischemic disease
  • Influence of metabolic disease on reproductive health and developmental programming
  • Lipoprotein regulation and targeted “omic” pathways in atherogenesis

A key research asset for the Division is the Obese NHP Resource that employs a nonhuman model of diet-induced obesity. This model has proved to be critical in the understanding of the complex mechanisms underlying cardiometabolic disease, and in many cases provides the only preclinical animal species that truly models the human condition.  The Division is also the administrative home for the unique Primate Multimodality Imaging Center which provides state-of-the-art non-invasive imaging technology (nuclear imaging with PET and SPECT, computed tomography, advanced ultrasound, biplane angiography, and DEXA) to better understand disease pathogenesis and therapy using safe non-invasive methods similar to what is used in humans.

Programs associated with the Division of Metabolic Health & Disease