Dr. Kissler and Dr. Yi in Joslin Lab

Amazing Discoveries

Joslin Diabetes Center is home to world-renowned scientists and researchers who are pushing to understand what causes diabetes — and to develop a cure for it.

Through clinical research in epidemiology, physiology, pathophysiology, health services, education, outcomes, and mental health, as well as an array of clinical trials, we are making great improvements in diabetes care.

Where Breakthroughs Begin

Joslin Diabetes Center has a team of elite researchers who are dedicated to improving diabetes care and education for patients around the globe.

There are very few centers in the world that are 100 percent devoted to diabetes research and care — and Joslin is one of them. As a result, our researchers are bringing us closer to a cure. Each year, we make great headway in understanding the underlying cause of diabetes, as well as how to help prevent its complications.

The research arm of our institution is large. About 250 researchers in 30 different labs are uncovering new information about type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In 2018, our researchers were awarded $24 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Today our team uses these funds to lead 288 IRB-approved studies that will set the standards for diabetes care around the world.

Questions We’re Investigating

Researchers at Joslin won’t stop until they fully understand type 1 and type 2 diabetes — and how to prevent or cure the disease. Our research is answering the following questions:

  • Why does diabetes run in families?

  • What factors cause some people to develop diabetes while others do not?

  • How do diabetes complications develop and how effective are attempts to prevent them through medication, education, or health services?

  • How can patients achieve better long-term diabetes management success through new education programs?

  • Does brain chemistry change when someone develops diabetes?

  • Do these changes result in mood disorders or make self-management more difficult?

From Bench to Bedside

Much of our research begins in animal models, such as worms, zebra fish, and mice, but often we conduct clinical trials to understand how much of our lab research can apply to humans as well. On average, there are at least five collaborations between principal investigators at Joslin. We find this cooperative, teamwork approach results in the greatest research advances.

Many of our patients also appreciate exclusive access to our clinical trials as study participants. Our trials allow them to benefit from the newest, most leading-edge diabetes treatments and approaches.

Scientists Discuss Work in Lab

We're making major discoveries in several key diabetes research areas. Scientists at Joslin, including 14 full professors at Harvard Medical School, are leading IRB-approved studies in these key areas:

  • Clinical Behavioral and Outcomes Research
  • Genetics and Epidemiology
  • Immunobiology
  • Integrative Physiology And Metabolism
  • Islet Cell And Regenerative Biology
  • Pathophysiology and Molecular Pharmacology
  • Vascular Cell Biology

Part of our research is conducted in the lab, beginning in animals models, such as worms, zebra fish, and mice. We then take that research and apply it to humans where we can. In fact, more than half of our bench research labs collaborate with a physician in the clinic.

In addition to lab research, Joslin’s team conducts clinical trials to evaluate new treatments and medications. Our clinical trials help us understand:

  • How and why diabetes develops
  • Genetic and environmental factors that may play a role
  • The success of education programs and health services programs to improve diabetes care and self management
  • Possible avenues to prevent diabetes
  • What new products and medications are most beneficial
  • How to prevent or reverse diabetes complications

Our team’s deep commitment to research results in the publication of hundreds of scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals each year. Researchers and clinicians all over the globe rely on Joslin to be at the forefront of diabetes care — and we’re proud to serve the medical and scientific community in this way.