Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Obesity

A multidisciplinary approach to tackling combined problems

Douglas L. Mann, MD
Mark Katzman

Douglas L. Mann, MD, the Tobias and Hortense Lewin Distinguished Professor of Cardiovascular Diseases, leads the university’s participation in a national heart-failure research network sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).


Heart disease, affecting more than 82 million Americans, is the leading cause of death in the United States for adults. In addition, heart disease is the leading cause of complications and death for two-thirds of the 25 million people with diabetes in this country. Obesity plays a major role in both diseases in adults and children. Researchers are tackling these combined problems by providing clinical treatment and conducting scientific studies throughout the School of Medicine in more than a dozen multidisciplinary programs and centers. 

Areas of excellence

At the Diabetic Cardiovascular Disease Center (DCDC), investigators are working toward a better understanding of the underlying basis connecting diabetes and heart disease. 

The School of Medicine is a world-class center for research, educational, and clinical care programs in atrial fibrillation, minimally invasive cardiac surgery, aortic surgery, ventricular-assist devices, and heart transplant.

Innovative research, along with successful treatments and education programs, is changing lives at the school’s Center for Human Nutrition.

Patient care and research in diabetes are advancing on multiple fronts: understanding and treating childhood diabetes by the Department of Pediatrics, significant advances within the Department of Medicine’s Division of Endocrinology, genetic studies on type 1 diabetes at The Genome Institute, and research into electric signaling in tissues at the Center for the Investigation of Membrane Excitability Diseases (CIMED).

The Cardiovascular Division has emerged as a national leader in both research and delivery of high-quality cardiovascular care to a large patient population. Faculty members in the division have conducted groundbreaking research in the area of dissolving blood clots for acute myocardial infarction, biomarkers for cardiac injury, and cardiac imaging.

The David Goldring Division of Pediatric Cardiology and its partner, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, have been recognized for more than a half-century for innovative approaches to infants and children with congenital heart disease. This reputation continues today with the division's recognition as a national leader in the area of heart failure and transplantation.

Together, we can

  • partner with start-up companies to develop drugs for heart disease.

  • identify defects that underlie many of the world's most important diseases, including heart arrhythmias, diabetes, and epilepsy.

  • identify new therapies for heart and vascular diseases in diabetes.

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