Dr. Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi Named Chief of Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Ernesto Bernal-Mizrachi, M.D., associate professor of medicine, and the Larry D. Soderquist Professor at the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, has been named Chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism in the Department of Medicine and Deputy Director of Beta Cell Biology and Signal Transduction at the Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Bernal-Mizrachi received his medical degree in 1989 from the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, where he began his internal medicine residency. He completed his residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, then accepted a fellowship in endocrinology at Washington University in St. Louis, where he began his academic career. In 2004, he was recruited to the University of Michigan as an assistant professor of medicine. In 2009, he was promoted, appointed an investigator at the Brehm Center for Diabetes Research and named the Larry D. Soderquist Professor.

Dr. Bernal-Mizrachi’s research interests involve the understanding of the molecular mechanisms that govern growth and survival of islet beta cells. The approach used in the laboratory includes the use of animal models and in vitro experiments. These experiments are focused on the importance of the insulin-signaling pathway in regulation of beta cell mass, function and plasticity. The results of these studies positively affect treatment of human diabetes, because they uncover potential targets to develop new pharmacologic agents designed to augment survival and proliferation of beta-cells in vivo and in vitro. The regulation of cellular plasticity in terminally differentiated acinar and beta-cells by manipulation of the insulin-signaling pathway could be an attractive approach to generate tissues as replacement therapy for diabetes or other conditions.

Bernal-Mizrachi is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI). He serves on the editorial board of leading journals in the field of endocrinology, including American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism and Molecular Endocrinology. He also serves as an associate editor for Islets and Clinical Diabetes and Endocrinology. At the University of Michigan, Bernal-Mizrachi was the PI of a T32 training grant. He currently holds two R01 awards from the NIH and a grant from the JDRF, as well as a MERIT award from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He has authored more than 55 peer-reviewed research papers and several book chapters.

Bernal-Mizrachi’s clinical interests are in the areas of diabetes management, and in addition to his active research program, he will see patients in UHealth’s ambulatory care centers.

Bernal-Mizrachi’s vision for the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism is to reestablish it as one of the top endocrine programs in the country and facilitate the advancement of the Division to the “forefront of clinical innovation.” This includes the creation of a multi-departmental Comprehensive Diabetes Center (CDC) for patients with Type 2 diabetes and obesity to improve patient care and accelerate growth in clinical programs that combine the expertise of endocrinologists, cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, bariatric surgeons and podiatrists. The CDC will be housed on the main campus and at satellite facilities. Bernal-Mizrachi envisions an expansion of the Division’s research enterprise to include new initiatives in endocrinology and metabolism, and further development of his own program on beta cell functions, with the objective of identifying new pathways useful in the treatment of diabetes and obesity. In the educational realm, Dr. Bernal-Mizrachi plans to expand the fellowship and training program.

“Please join me in welcoming Dr. Bernal-Mizrachi,” said Roy E. Weiss, M.D., Ph.D., professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine and holder of the Kathleen and Stanley Glaser Distinguished Chair in Medicine. “He is an outstanding researcher and clinician, and he has exciting plans for the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.

“I would also like to thank Dr. Matthias Salathe and the members of the Endocrinology Search Committee — Drs. Paul Martin, Norma Kenyon, Sylvia Daunert, Stephan Zuchner and Jose Szapocznik — for their outstanding work in identifying superb candidates for this position. They evaluated the credentials of more than 50 potential applicants, interviewed six candidates and provided thoughtful insight on several finalists that was extremely important to me. Additionally, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to the faculty of the Division of Endocrinology, in particular Dr. Alejandro Ayala, who has successfully served as interim Chief since May 2014.”

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