Research in Pediatric Endocrinology

The Division of Pediatric Endocrinology provides an exciting and vigorous research setting for faculty to perform the most advanced research aimed at understanding the pathophysiology of pubertal and adult endocrine, behavioral, growth and reproductive disorders.

The Faculty employ a wide array of integrative molecular, cellular, physiologic and clinical approaches to explore fundamental questions relating to growth and differentiation of tissues and the genes and signaling pathways involved in organ function and dysfunction.  Both animal and clinical models are effectively employed to gain an understanding of the origin and pathophysiology of pediatric and adult endocrine diseases and develop strategies to prevent or mange diseases.

Faculty with both basic and clinical science research interests interact amongst themselves and with various members of the University faculty to provide exciting preclinical, translational and clinical research opportunities.

Ming Chen, M.D.

Ming Chen, M.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Chen’s research interests encompassing congenital adrenal hyperplasia and disorders of sex development.

 Brigid Ellen Gregg, M.D.

Brigid Ellen Gregg, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Gregg’s research interest include early life determinants of risk for type 2 diabetes risk.

Nancy J. Hopwood, M.D.

Dr. Hopwood’s research interests include studying the efficacy of growth hormone therapy in transitioning from childhood to adult life in hypopituitarism and strategies for screening for congenital hypothyroidism in the newborn period.

Josephine Kasa Vubu M.D.

Josephine J. Kasa-Vubu M.D., M.S.


The research focus of Dr. Kasa-Vubu's laboratory centers on the interface between energy balance and reproductive function in lean adolescent women. Her studies focus on understanding the impact of the stress axis on the development of the endocrine aberrations associated with the "Athlete's Triad". The ultimate goal is to develop useful and practical paradigms to diagnose over-training, and optimize the beneficial effects of exercise while preventing osteoporosis in this vulnerable population.

Dr Kasa-Vubu’s research also focuses on the other end of the weight spectrum, obese adolescent girls who are increasing at an alarming rate. The insulin resistance inherent to obesity challenges their fertility potential while increasing their long-term risk for heart disease. Her laboratory investigates how insulin resistance alters reproductive function in pubertal young women and what are the best ways to preserve reproductive function while optimizing cardiovascular outcomes and decreasing the risk for diabetes.

Joyce Lee, M.D.

Joyce M. Lee, M.D., M.P.H.


Joyce M. Lee, M.D., M.P.H., is an Associate Professor in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Michigan with a joint appointment in the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) unit.  She attended Brown University for her undergraduate education and the University of Pennsylvania for her medical degree, where she was elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honors Society.  She completed her internship and residency in General Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Boston, and her fellowship in Pediatric Endocrinology and Pediatric Health Services Research at the University of Michigan.  She received her Master in Public Health from the Department of Health Management and Policy at the University of Michigan. 

Dr. Lee’s research focuses on the epidemiology of diabetes (type 1 and type 2) and obesity in children, health outcomes and quality of life for children with diabetes, and the link between childhood obesity and its long-term endocrine consequences, including pubertal maturation and development of diabetes over the life course.  Dr. Lee is a co-investigator for cost-effectiveness for the national multi-center randomized controlled trial to evaluate the use of real-time continuous glucose monitoring (RT-CGM) systems for improving health outcomes and quality of life for children with type 1 diabetes, funded by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Artificial Pancreas Program. 

Because of her specialized training in Pediatric Endocrinology and Pediatric Health Services Research, Dr. Lee was appointed to the editorial board of the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in March 2007.  Dr. Lee’s scientific research has been featured in that national and international news including the CBS News with Katie Couric, ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson, National Public Radio, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, the BBC, and the Guardian.

Ram Kumar Menon, M.D.

Ram K. Menon, M.D., M.B.B.S.


The research emphasis of Dr. Menon’s laboratory is to understand the role of the growth hormone/growth hormone receptor axis in health and disease.  The projects currently underway focus on the identification and characterization of the molecular mechanisms regulating expression of the murine growth hormone receptor (GHR) gene in diabetes mellitus.

The experimental approaches being used include in vitro and in vivo genetic experiments. In collaboration with Drs. Mark Sperling, University of Pittsburgh and Derek LeRoith, National Institute of Health, his laboratory is also developing a model for studying the role of the GH/GHR in the intact animal using the strategy of CRE-LOX mediated targeted disruption of the GHR gene. Other areas of research relate to the functional analysis of a novel member of the insulin family of proteins that Dr. Menon’s laboratory had recently cloned.

David Olson MD PhD

David Paul Olson M.D., Ph.D

Associate Professor

Dr. Olson’s research interest encompasses the molecular and cellular basis for the central nervous system regulation of bodyweight, metabolism and endocrine function.

Delia Vazquez, M.D.

Delia M. Vazquez, M.D.


View Dr. Vazquez's laboratory website.  Dr. Vazquez's research focuses on pre-clinical and clinical studies. Her pre-clinical research program investigates the effect of early life stress on the neurobiological circuits that are thought to play a role in psychopathology and in vulnerability to substance abuse. Neuroanatomical and molecular biology methods are used to study the stress axis brain elements and the brain circuitry related to inhibition of the stress system in the post-natal and post-weaning period. In addition, her laboratory studies the developmental trajectory of genes that may be linked to individual differences in stress responsiveness and anxiety-like behavior.

Dr Vazquez has also pursued her interest on the effect of stress on growth and is developing an animal model to understand psychosocial dwarfism. Her clinical studies focus on understanding the pathophysiology of stress-induced growth failure in children. In collaboration with child and adult psychiatrists she studies children with psychosocial growth failure. She has recently started longitudinal studies investigating the development of the adrenocortical response in infants of depressed mothers, infants with emotional dysregulation, children with high levels of aggression, and in bereaved children.


Vasantha Padmanabhan, M.S., Ph.D.


Dr. Padmanabhan's research is translational and mainly centers on understanding the developmental origin of pubertal and adult reproductive and metabolic disorders.  Specifically, her laboratory research focuses on the impact of maternal exposure to native steroids (testosterone, estradiol) and environmental pollutants such as bisphenol-A and biosolids in altering developmental trajectory of developing fetus and programming of adult reproductive and metabolic diseases.  Utilizing integrative approaches ranging from cell and molecular biology as well as in vitro systems to whole animal physiology her specific emphasis is to understand the mechanisms by which native and environmental steroids program reproductive neuroendocrine and ovarian defects, insulin resistance as well as adipose defects such as that seen in hyperandrogenic disorders like Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and identify prevention and treatment strategies. 

In addition, using a longitudinal pregnancy cohort that she has developed, she is studying the impact of gestational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals on maternal, neonatal, and placental metabolome, oxidative stress, inflammasome, and epigenome as they relate to neonatal outcomes.

Kanakadurga Singer, M.D.

Kanakadurga Singer, M.D.

Associate Professor

Research in the Singer Lab is focused on understanding the influence of diet-induced obesity on hematopoiesis and the generation of activated macrophages that lead to metabolic disease. Current projects in the laboratory focus on (1) sexually dimorphic inflammatory responses to high fat diet and (2) Mechanisms driving hematopoietic stem cell myeloid differentiation after high fat diet exposure.

This work in mouse models uses bone marrow transplantation, stem-cell analysis techniques, and metabolic profiling. Understanding the immune physiology after high fat diet exposure in mice and translating these findings to pediatric obesity will lead to future therapeutic and dietary interventions.

Michael Wood, M.D.

Michael A. Wood, M.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Wood’s research interests include clinical studies in diabetes mellitus and glucose metabolism

Inas Thomas, M.D.

Associate Professor

Dr. Thomas’ research interest is in osteogenesis imperfect and endocrine sequela of childhood cancer.

Daniel Shumer, M.D., M.P.H.

Daniel Shumer, M.D.

Assistant Professor

Dr. Shumer’s research interest is in the etiology, comorbidities, and care delivery related to gender dysphoria.