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A cure for Wolfram syndrome could lead to a cure for diabetes and blindness.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A cure for Wolfram syndrome could lead to a cure for diabetes Part 5


I received a call from Dr. Permutt when I was getting off the airplane. I asked him to give me some time and called him back. He said that he wanted me to join the faculty of Washington University of School of Medicine. He also asked me to look at the Wolfram clinic. So I visited the Washington University's Wolfram clinic in the summer of 2011. Dr. Barrett and Dr. Tanizawa were also there. I met with physicians and researchers involved in the Wolfram clinic, including Dr. Tamara Hershey PhD, Dr. Bess Marshall MD, Dr. Neil White MD, and Mr. Jonathan Wasson MS. The clinic was well organized. I realized that the Washington University Medical Center was a huge complex. I also met with Dr. Clay Semenkovich MD who was heading the endocrinology division there. I was really impressed by the clinic and the medical center.

I came back to the Washington University in the Fall of 2011, gave a lecture on Wolfram syndrome, and met with many faculty members, including the Head of Medicine, Dr. Victoria Fraser MD, and the Director of the Diabetes Research Center, Dr. Jean Schaffer MD. They were enthusiastic and supportive. Dr. Permutt was very sick because of the metastatic cancer and asked me to take over his research program. I also met with Mrs. Stephanie Snow Gebel whose daughter had Wolfram syndrome. She said that she would raise money for our research program just like Nolwen said to us. I was moved by her.

I decided to leave the University of Massachusetts and join the Washington University Medical Center early in 2012. I was determined to find a treatment for Wolfram syndrome. Around that time, the concept of "ER stress in beta cells" hit the tipping point. Many established researchers started publishing articles related to ER stress in beta cells. I moved to Washington University on July 1, 2012.