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Lawrence Mandarino named director of new UA Center on Disparities

Lawrence J. Mandarinohas been chosen to direct the new UA Center for Disparities in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. Mandarino will also serve as chief for the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine.

Mandarino earned his doctorate in 1978 from Arizona State University, later joined the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and served as an assistant professor at the Mayo Medical School.

"Coming to the UA is really exciting for me because there are more opportunities for me here," Mandarino said. "It will give me a chance to expand my research with a bigger commitment."

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His job as director will deal with the most complicated cases of Type 2 diabetes. Cases of diabetes have grown in the Latino and African American communities in Tucson, according to Mandarino, and he plans to bring together a large number of scientists to look into this increase.

His job as chief will be to expand the capability of faculty for research in the Department of Medicine at the UA College of Medicine.

Karen Herbst , associate professor of medicine at the UA College of Medicine, said she is excited to welcome Mandarino to the UA.

“Dr. Mandarino brings a strong research effort to endocrinology in the field of diabetes, obesity and metabolism, which is much needed to increase participation of our fellows in research,” Herbst said, “[This] will segue nicely with our diabetes center, and to provide guidance and support to the endocrine faculty who are seeking to combine clinical care with research.”

In about five years, Mandarino plans to double the faculty in the Division of Endocrinology. He said he hopes to have had a grant funded to the faculty for research and to have all programs developed in the new center. He said he would like to see results in the community, students and faculty.

For over 25 years, Mandarino’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, according to the UA Health Sciences Office of Public Affairs. Mandarino said he even does his own laboratory research on insulin in skeletal muscle for people with Type 2 diabetes.

“I try to find a way to lower their blood sugar by finding ways that it works in healthy people and why it’s resistant towards people with Type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Shannon Patterson, a pre-pharmacy freshman, shared her views on the new center and Mandarino as she continues a concentration in nutrition.

“I think that’s amazing, especially given our current food options. It’d be great to have a health professional research that the food we are giving are supporting Type 2 diabetes,” Patterson said. “I think a lot of good and our campus will benefit from having someone like this on our campus.”


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