Professor and Head, Diabetes and Fibrotic Disease Research Unit, Division of Quantitative Medicine and Systems Biology, Translational Genomics Research Institute, Phoenix, Arizona
Dr. Johanna DiStefano is a Professor and Head of the Diabetes and Fibrotic Disease Unit where she leads research in the molecular mechanisms of chronic, progressive metabolic diseases.
For more than twenty years, Dr. DiStefano has investigated molecular mechanisms underlying type 2 diabetes and related hepatic and renal complications. During this time, she has led many successful NIH-funded studies to identify genetic and molecular factors associated with the development and progression of diabetic kidney disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and diabetic dyslipidemia, all of which contribute significantly to morbidity and mortality in patients with diabetes. She currently has major efforts in the investigation of epigenetic mechanisms underlying the development and progression of NAFLD and the role of extracellular vesicle content in mediating metabolic derangements in obesity and improvements in metabolic parameters associated with bariatric surgery and lifestyle interventions. Her team works with ethnically diverse patient populations using state-of-the-art laboratory approaches, including high throughput sequencing of DNA, RNA, and noncoding RNA, in vitro model systems, functional genomics, extracellular vesicle profiling, and global DNA methylation analysis, to address important gaps in our understanding of disease pathogenesis and directly impact unmet clinical needs. The longstanding goal of her scientific program has been to conduct research leading to 1) an enhanced mechanistic understanding of complex disease processes, 2) early and noninvasive diagnostic assays to identify at-risk individuals for preventative strategies, 3) individualized treatment strategies in the clinical management of disease, and 4) identification of targets for the development of new and improved therapeutics.
Dr. DiStefano has no relevant disclosures.