Richard Bergman, PhD

Director, Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute, Biomedical Sciences
Phone:(310) 967-2796
Fax:(310) 967-3869

Academic Appointments

Professor, Biomedical Sciences
Professor, Medicine

Awards and Activities

Alfred Jay Firestein Chair in Diabetes Research2011
Naomi Berrie Award, Columbia University Medical Center2009
NIH Merit Award, National Institutes of Health2007
Banting Medal for Scientific Achievement, American Diabetes Assn.2006
TOPS Research Award, N. American Assoc. for Study of Obesity2004
Lilly Award as Outstanding Researcher in Diabetes1989
Editor-in-Chief: Obesity (a Research Journal)2007 - 2012
Editorial Board: DIABETES1987 - 1990

Research Focus

In the Cedars Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute, we are examining the relationships between obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes. We are examining the mechanisms by which increased stored fat reduces the sensitivity of tissues, especially skeletal muscle and fat, to the hormone insulin. We are studying why resistance to the hormone insulin predisposes individuals to diabetes mellitus, defined as increased blood glucose. Our goal is to identify compounds or procedures which can reduce obesity, or which can suppress the linkage between obesity and insulin resistance, and insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. We are examining the mechanisms underlying beta-cell failure, and how failure of the pancreatic beta-cells interacts with insulin resistance to cause diabetes. We are examining therapies for diabetes, including implanted devices to treat the disease, and including stem-cell (regenerative medicine) approaches to compensate for reduced beta-cell function. We are studying the importance of the gut-brain axis in glucose regulation, particularly with regard to the gut hormone GLP-1 and how signals in the abdominal portal vein are detected by specific sensors, and the role of said sensors in carbohydrate metabolism.

Research Contributions

Our researchers contributions include the development of the Minimal Model Approach for assessment of metabolic status and the Disposition Index, the most powerful predictor of the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Current investigations include:

Free fatty acids changing over time (e.g., surging at night). Role of sleep in insulin resistance. Relationship between insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease (trans-capillary transport). Antipsychotic drugs and obesity. Metabolic function using mathematical modeling. Genetic control of metabolism within different ethnic groups.

Selected Publications

  1. Bergman RN: Orchestration of glucose homeostasis: from a small acorn to the California oak. Diabetes, 56(6): 1489-501, 2007
  2. Kim SP, Ellmerer M, Kirkman EL, Bergman RN: Beta-cell "rest" accompanies reduced first-pass hepatic insulin extraction in the insulin-resistant, fat-fed canine model. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab., 292(6): E1581-9, 2007
  3. Chiu JD, Richey JM, Harrison LN, Zuniga E, Kolka CM, Kirkman E, Ellmerer M, Bergman RN: Direct administration of insulin into skeletal muscle reveals that the transport of insulin across the capillary endothelium limits the time course of insulin to activate glucose disposal. Diabetes, 57(4): 828-35, 2008
  4. Kolka CM, Harrison LN, Lottati M, Chiu JD, Kirkman EL, Bergman RN: Diet-induced obesity prevents interstitial dispersion of insulin in skeletal muscle. Diabetes, 59(3): 619-26, 2009
  5. Bergman RN, Stefanovski D, Buchanan TA, Sumner AE, Reynolds JC, Sebring NG, Xiang AH, Watanabe RM: A better index of body adiposity. Obesity (Silver Spring), 19(5): 1083-9, 2011
  6. Kolka CM, Bergman RN: The barrier within: endothelial transport of hormones. Physiology (Bethesda), 27(4): 237-47, 2012

Lab Information

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