Dr Dabelea is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, a Professor of Epidemiology and Pediatrics and the Director of the Lifecourse Epidemiology of Adiposity and Diabetes (LEAD) Center.
Her main research interest is understanding how early life behaviors, environmental exposures and other risk factors operating during fetal or early post-natal life, influence the development of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular outcomes throughout the lifecourse (developmental origins of health and disease). Her experience includes epidemiological studies with community-based and clinic-based sampling, longitudinal follow-up, and extensive sample collection and storage.
As the Director of the LEAD Center and lead investigator on several NIH and CDC grants, she oversees large, longitudinal, cohort studies spanning the entire lifecourse, from pregnancy through old age. Among others, she served as national Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for the multi-center SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study, a landmark US population-based study conducting both surveillance and observational research in the field of pediatric type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
She is Principal Investigator of Healthy Start, a Colorado pre-birth cohort study following over 1400 mother –child dyads from before birth through childhood and adolescence, to understand the developmental origins of pediatric obesity and metabolic disease. More recently, she has been funded to participate in the DISCOVERY consortium, a multi-center study of predictors and pathophysiology of youth-onset type 2 diabetes in very high- risk youth. Dr. Dabelea is part of the Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) in older adults, and is now studying diabetes-and aging-related outcomes and comorbidities, including Alzheimer disease and related dementias.
These studies, several ancillary studies supported by these cohorts, as well as other studies conducted by LEAD investigators under Dr. Dabelea’s direction, provide an exceptionally rich resource for training and mentoring students, junior faculty, residents and fellows in clinical diabetes research, lifecourse research, maternal and child health research, and chronic disease epidemiology.