Lori Sussel, Ph.D. is a Professor of Pediatrics and Cell & Developmental Biology at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes at the University of Colorado Denver.
Dr. Sussel received her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas, Austin and performed her graduate work at Columbia University Medical School. She pursued postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco, where she studied the transcriptional regulation of CNS and pancreas development. This research led Dr. Sussel to her first faculty position at the Barbara Davis Center at the University of Colorado where her research program focused on characterizing the conserved regulatory pathways that controlled pancreas development and specification of the islet beta cell lineage. In 2007 she was given the opportunity to continue and expand her research program at Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical School where she rose through the ranks to become Professor of Genetics and Developmental Biology. In 2016, Dr. Sussel moved back to Colorado at assume the Research Director position of the Barbara Davis Center. At the University of Colorado she is continuing to investigate the regulation of beta cell development, but is also working to establish an internationally recognized research division focusing on all aspects of T1D research and discovery.
The main focus of Dr. Sussel’s research is to understand the complex transcriptional networks that regulate development, differentiation and function of the pancreatic islet. Her early studies led to the ground-breaking discovery that a ghrelin-producing “epsilon” cell population normally resides in the fetal islet, and that a close lineage relationship exists between the islet beta and epsilon cell populations. She went on to identify several conserved novel regulatory pathways that are essential for normal pancreas development, islet lineage specification and the maintenance of beta cell function and identity. Currently, her research is addressing issues relating to the regulation of beta cell identity and function with a specific focus on transcription factors and long non-coding RNAs. At the Barbara Davis Center she has joined an established team of scientists and clinicians dedicated to finding treatments and cures for Type 1 diabetes. In this rich research environment, her lab will explore novel transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that could promote beta cell survival and function in the context of autoimmunity.
In addition to her rich research program, Dr. Sussel is committed to training our next generation of scientists in T1D research. Throughout her career she has been actively involved in predoctoral and postdoctoral mentoring both within her lab and at the institutional level. This commitment has led to two mentoring awards. She has also served the community with her participation on numerous NIH study sections and has served as a reviewer for many international granting agencies. She is a reviewer for over 20 specialty journals and recently completed her five year tenure as an Associate Editor for Diabetes.