Type 2 Diabetes Focus of New Colorado State University Food Science and Human Nutrition Endowed Chair

A leading scientist conducting research in the areas of type 2 diabetes and obesity will be the new Lillian Fountain Smith Nutrition Chair at Colorado State University.

Michael Pagliassotti will join the faculty in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State this summer. His research has focused on type 2 diabetes and the role of dietary nutrients in the development of the disease. In the last 10 years, the number of diagnosed type 2 diabetes cases in the United States has increased by more than a third.

"I am honored and excited to join the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State University," said Pagliassotti. "My immediate goals will be to get my laboratory established, get to know the faculty and students and to initiate collaborative research projects within the department."

Pagliassotti’s longer-term goals include the establishment of cross-departmental research collaborations, contributions to the teaching and service missions of the department and the development of an interdisciplinary research and training program in nutrition.

"We’re very excited to have a person of Mike Pagliasotti’s caliber on our faculty," said Chris Melby, chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State. "He’s an outstanding scientist who is leading cutting-edge research in the area of diabetes and obesity, which are both major public health problems today. His research will provide valuable information necessary to develop the most appropriate treatment and prevention strategies for these conditions. Dr. Pagliassotti also has a reputation as an outstanding teacher and mentor-our students will greatly benefit from his relocation to Colorado State University."

The development of type 2 diabetes involves both genetic and environmental factors. Pagliassotti’s research seeks to understand the role of dietary nutrients, as environmental factors, in the development of impairments that are associated with type 2 diabetes, namely insulin resistance – a reduced ability of insulin to regulate blood glucose levels – and elevated liver glucose production. His research will not only provide important information on the etiology of the disease but also will lead to dietary guidelines that may protect against or slow its development.

Pagliassotti comes to Colorado State from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center where he is a faculty member in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes. He also has served as an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Health Sciences Center and an associate professor in the Department of Exercise Science at Arizona State University.

Pagliassotti has been honored with several awards including a Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Research Award, Bristol Meyers Squibb/Mead Johnson Research Center Award, American Physiological Society Career Enhancement Award and Mentor Appreciation Award.

Pagliassotti received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University at Northridge and doctoral degree from the University of Southern California. He pursued postdoctoral studies at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics.

The endowed chair in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition is funded by the Lillian Fountain Smith Trust, established by Lillian and J. Smith and their children to honor Lillian Smith, a 1918 home economics graduate of Colorado State.

For more information about the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, visit www.cahs.colostate.edu/fshn.