Research Summary


Focus: Understanding diabetes and its complications

How does the brain respond to sweet taste?



IDC Director Dr. Robert Considine, who joined the IBRI in the fall of 2018, and his team continue to conduct research into better understanding diabetes and they are making progress on a number of fronts.

With funding from the American Diabetes Association, Dr. Considine’s lab team continues to collaborate with Dr. David Kareken and his team at the Indiana University School of Medicine to investigate how the brain responds to sweet taste, and how this response changes following gastric bypass surgery. A reduction in subject preference for sweet taste following surgery has been reported, but the brain areas responsible for this effect are unknown.

Using magnetic resonance imaging and the administration of sucrose to the tongue, the investigative team is measuring the activation of brain areas, including the primary gustatory cortex and reward areas. These studies may lead to a non-surgical solution to reduce the consumption of sweetened high-calorie foods and beverages.

The health benefit of nut consumption

In collaboration with Dr. Richard Mattes, a leading nutrition scientist at Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences, Dr. Considine’s team is also studying the ingestion of almonds as a means to reduce blood sugar, which will determine if the health benefits of the nuts are driven by the presence of greater body fat in the abdominal or gluteal region.

A manuscript describing the findings of this two-year clinical trial will be published in 2021. This study continues a long-standing collaboration between Drs. Considine and Mattes, which has already yielded three publications on the health benefits of nut consumption.

Collaborations result in publications

Collaborations with investigators at the IU School of Medicine, Purdue University and University of Illinois-Chicago resulted in nine publications in 2019 and 2020 on a number of diabetes-related topics.

  • Five studies investigated the role of inflammation in polycystic ovarian syndrome (PMID: 32830548, PMC: 7259366, PMC: 7150616, PMC: 6773460, PMC: 6364509). 
  • The sixth study tested oligomeric collagen as an encapsulation material for islet/β-cell replacement (PMC: 7473915). 
  • The seventh study examined the effects of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass on glomerular filtration rate (PMC: 7470048). 
  • The eighth study tested treprostinil and metformin normalization of hyperglycemia to improve cardiac function in pulmonary hypertension associated heart failure (PMC: 7255946).
  • One publication described the ninth study as a trial to test feasibility, mechanism and cognitive function effects of a multicomponent intervention that included foods high in polyphenols (PMC: 6721976).

Lab Team

Robert Considine, PhD

Robert Considine, PhD

Administrative Director, IBRI Diabetes Center

Robert Considine, PhD

Robert Considine, PhD

Administrative Director, IBRI Diabetes Center

Robert V. Considine, PhD, joined the Division of Endocrinology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Ind., as an Assistant Professor in 1997 and was promoted to Professor in 2013. Prior to his appointment at the IU School of Medicine, he was on the faculty of the Department of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pa., where he had completed his doctoral training.

Dr. Considine’s research is focused on understanding the contribution of obesity to the development of diabetes and its complications. In early work, his lab made seminal observations about the function of the adipose tissue hormone leptin in humans.  More recently, the Considine Lab has focused on the effects of bariatric surgery to alter gut hormone release and improve glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity.  In collaboration with David Kareken, PhD, at the IU School of Medicine, Dr. Considine is also utilizing neuroimaging techniques to understand the reward system response to food cues in human subjects.  

Dr. Considine is currently the Associate Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Diabetes Center at the IU School of Medicine, and oversees the Analyte Laboratory, which provides quantitation of adipokines, cytokines, gut peptides and hormones from human and animal samples.  He is also the Statewide Director for Endocrine and Reproductive Biology, a second-year course in the IU School of Medicine curriculum.