​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Participating Investigators​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Lloyd Paul Aiello M.D., Ph.D.

The focus of eye research is to study the mechanisms of diabetes that lead to development of retinal complications and vision loss. Students would learn the physiology of the retina and imaging techniques to assess retinal morphology and function. Potential projects would involve the investigation of therapeutic targets in the retina by utilizing a combination of imaging methodologies, protein analysis, histology and drug delivery techniques. Ideal candidates should have a background in biology but also an interest in biomedical sciences.


Laurie J. Goodyear Ph.D.



Work in the Goodyear lab is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms by which exercise improves metabolic health. The student would work alongside a post-doctoral fellow on his or her project.  Specific projects include:

  • The effects of maternal and paternal exercise on offspring metabolism

  • Effects of exercise on muscle signaling proteins

  • Adaptations to adipose tissue with exercise training

  • Studies of myokines, muscle secreted factors that affect metabolism throughout the body.

 Experiments are either cell or animal based


Osama Hamdy M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.E.

We are conducting several nutrition sand lifestyle intervention studies that explore the impact of different models of medical nutrition therapy or lifestyle changes on body weight, glucose control and cardiovascular risk factors. Student will have the opportunity to observe clinical study procedures, collect data, search our database, write a review and may participate in protocol writing. 


George L. King M.D.

​Dr. George King’s lab uses multiple approaches such as culturing specific microvascular and arterial vascular cells from the retina, glomeruli and arteries in order to determine the actions of insulin on cytokine expressions and their actions such as those for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), as well as the interfering effect of hyperglycemia and loss of insulin actions on the functions of these cells.

In addition, we approach the question of diabetic complications from clinical research studies. We have characterized a large group of type 1 diabetic patients of extreme duration, greater than 50 years of diabetes, The Joslin Medalist Study, and have found that 30% of these patients do not have significant retinopathy and nephropathy.


Aleksandar D. Kostic Ph. D.

The Kostic lab strives to uncover and understand the immunomodulatory functions of the gut microbiota, the collection of 100 trillion symbiotic bacteria that inhabit our intestinal tract, and their impact on type 1 diabetes and related autoimmune diseases. The student will be play a role in a project that involves one or more of the following activities: (1) Computational analysis of microbiome data from large patient cohorts; (2) Engineering human gut microbes via synthetic biology; (3) Mechanistic studies in humanized, gnotobiotic mouse models.


Rohit N. Kulkarni M.D., Ph.D.

The focus of the projects in the lab is centered on generating insulin-secreting beta cells as a way to counter the shortage of these cells and improve the blood glucose in patients with all forms of diabetes. The lab uses complementary approaches that include mouse and human islet cells, genetically engineered mice with alterations in the signaling proteins in the growth factor pathway in islet cells and models of human adult stem cells.

Prospective summer students will be assigned to a small project as part of a larger program and are expected to work with a Post-doctoral Fellow in the lab over the duration of the internship. The student will be trained in specific techniques appropriate for the assigned project and will meet with the PI on a weekly basis to assess progress and to participate in the lab meetings.


Lori Laffel M.D., M.P.H.


The Laffel lab investigates approaches to optimizing adherence and improving biomedical and psychosocial outcomes of pediatric, adolescent, and young adults with diabetes along with their family members. There are also a number of investigations utilizing new diabetes technologies, including continuous glucose monitors and automated insulin delivery systems. Topics of research include nutritional aspects of diabetes management, exercise, newer insulins and new classes of hypoglycemic medications.


Mary-Elizabeth Patti M.D.

The student will work together with a postdoctoral fellow investigating mechanisms by which insulin resistance affects cellular metabolism in stem cells isolated from humans with diabetes risk or established type 2 diabetes, or from mice at risk for diabetes.  Techniques to be learned include cell culture, analysis of gene and protein expression, isolation of cells, and assessment of metabolism.  Data analysis will also be emphasized.


Christian Rask-Madsen M.D.

The Rask-Madsen Lab studies how dysfunction of vascular endothelial cells contribute to cancer initiation and progression in obesity and diabetes.  We work with the concept that endothelial dysfunction can promote tumorigenesis by contributing to chronic inflammation and change the vascular niche for cancer stem cells.  We use mice with genetic mutations limited to endothelial cells for this work, in addition to cell culture models.  The summer intern will have the opportunity to establish endothelial cells in coculture with intestinal tumor organoids, manipulate gene expression in endothelial cells and observe changes in the organoid phenotype.


Thomas Serwold PH.D.


Type 1 diabetes results from an autoimmune T cell attack beta cells within the pancreas. The research efforts of the Serwold lab focus on identifying key steps in the development of both normal and autoimmune T cells, on detecting autoimmune T cells in ongoing disease, and on developing novel approaches for preventing autoimmune T cell development.


Steven Shoelson M.D., Ph. D.

Studies in the Shoelson lab focus on the pathogenesis of diabetes and its complications, and potential new avenues for treatment. More specifically, our lab focuses on potential roles of inflammation in the pathogenesis of diabetes (insulin resistance and β cell dysfunction) and its long term macrovascular (atherosclerosis) and microvascular (neuropathy, retinopathy, nephropathy) complications.


Paolo Antonio Silva M.D.

Dr. Silva is a staff ophthalmologist and assistant chief of telemedicine at the Beetham Eye Institute of the Joslin Diabetes Center as well as Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. His work is focused on innovative and investigative work at a field that is at the intersection of clinical care and technology with the hope of providing an ideal model for the delivery of evidence based highly effective and efficient diabetes eye care to the population that needs it the most. Dr. Silva's primary expertise lies in the fields of ocular telehealth for diabetic retinopathy, ultrawide field retinal imaging and electronic medical record review.


Robert C. Stanton M.D.

Robert C. Stanton's research is focused on an essential enzyme that plays an essential role in regulating oxidative stress and many other functions in all cells, glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (GDP6). His lab has discovered that this enzyme is essential for cell survival and plays an important role in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases including diabetes and diabetic complications.​


Jennifer Sun M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Sun is a vitreoretinal surgeon and Chief of the Center for Clinical Eye Research and Trials of the Beetham Eye Institute, Joslin Diabetes Center. She is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Her research projects include the search for biomarkers of functional and anatomic outcomes in diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema through utilization of advanced retinal imaging techniques.


Yu-Hua Tseng Ph.D.


Our research focuses on examining the fundamental mechanisms regulating energy balance and its related pathogenesis, such as obesity and diabetes. The specific areas of research include brown adipose tissue formation and function using a broad-based approaches, including cellular and molecular analysis, transgenic models, in vitro and in vivo imaging and ‘-omic’ profiling. We are welcoming independent, energetic and creative students who are eager to be involved in basic science and translational research. Laboratory research requires precision and accuracy, attention to detail, carefully following protocols and documenting the experimental procedures and results.


Peng Yi Ph.D.

Dr. Yi’s laboratory aims at understanding the mechanism of pancreatic beta cell proliferation in various physiological conditions, hoping to find a way to regenerate pancreatic beta cell mass in Type 1 or late Type 2 diabetics. Dr. Yi’s laboratory set up a new acute insulin resistance mouse model by infusion of an insulin receptor antagonist, S961, which induces dramatic and specific pancreatic beta cell replication. This model has been used as a gene discovery platform to search for novel secreted proteins and hormones that can drive beta cell proliferation.