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Dr. Michels joined the faculty of Barbara Davis Center in 2010 as a physician scientist and practicing endocrinologist. His professional research career focuses on understanding the underlying immunology of autoimmune disorders with a focus on type 1 diabetes. Having lived with type 1 diabetes for more than two decades, it is his career goal to contribute to the prevention and ultimately a cure for the disease. His research focuses on understanding the role of HLA molecules in conferring diabetes risk and protection, as specific HLA genes contribute substantial risk for diabetes development as well as provide dominant protection. He discovered that small ‘drug-like’ molecules targeted to diabetes risk HLA molecules can block T cell responses and prevent diabetes onset in spontaneous animal models of autoimmune diabetes. The concept of blocking a specific HLA molecule, which represents personalized medicine, has been translated from bench to bedside. He completed a clinical trial using methyldopa (Aldomet) in patients with recently diagnosed diabetes to block a specific HLA gene involved in diabetes development. Dr. Michels is also an enthusiastic mentor for basic investigation into the immunology of type 1 diabetes.
MD: Creighton University School of Medicine (2004)