Christopher Newgard, PhD has served as director of the Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center since March 2002. Prior to coming to Duke, Dr. Newgard was the Gifford O. Touchstone and Randolph G. Touchstone Distinguished Professor and co-director of the Touchstone Center for Diabetes Research at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Before his appointment as director of the Stedman Center, the Stedman Center was recognized as a clinical research center. Since taking over the leadership of the center, Dr. Newgard has combined a strong basic science research program in metabolism with a new clinical research program focused on nutrition, metabolism, and obesity. To these programs he has added a comprehensive metabolic and biomarker profiling program to put the Stedman Center on an entirely new trajectory for success. A pillar of the basic science research program of the Stedman Center is Dr. Newgard's own laboratory.
His laboratory focuses on understanding metabolic regulatory mechanisms and applying this knowledge to gain insight into chronic conditions and diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Key projects in the lab include the following: 1) mechanisms involved in the regulation of insulin secretion from pancreatic islet cells by glucose and other metabolic fuels; 2) mechanisms involved in obesity-related impairment of cell function; 3) development of methods for protection of cells against environmental insults, including elevated lipids and inflammatory mediators; 4) studies on spatial organization and regulation of systems controlling hepatic glucose balance; 5) studies on the mechanisms involved in lipid-induced impairment of insulin action in obesity and diabetes.