The ASK Study is led by Dr. Marian Rewers,
Executive Director, Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes
Dr. Rewers is directing a clinical team of 25 physicians/scientists and over 120 ancillary and research staff serving a population of 6,000 children and adults with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), mostly from the Western U.S.
Dr. Rewers' primary goal is to identify environmental causes of autoimmune diabetes and to translate these findings into prevention. He is the principal investigator of large NIH-funded prospective cohort studies. The Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young (DAISY) has screened for diabetes genes over 31,000 newborns from families where nobody has diabetes as well as over 1,800 young relatives of people with the disease. Over 2,500 high-risk infants have been followed for up to 17 years to learn how genes and the environment interact to trigger the onset of Type 1 Diabetes. In DAISY participants, certain genetic backgrounds, early dietary exposures, and infections have been found to be associated with diabetes. Based on this model, the National Institutes of Health funded a multi-center consortium—The Environmental Determinants of Diabetes in the Young (TEDDY) that includes centers from Colorado, Washington, Georgia/Florida, Germany, Finland, and Sweden. Dr. Rewers is heading the Colorado center as well as co-chairing the Steering Committee of TEDDY. This is the most comprehensive effort ever funded to identify environmental triggers of Type 1 Diabetes. This study has screened over 424,000 newborns and is following 8,677 of those with the highest risk genes. All of the centers are collecting the same information about viruses, dietary factors, immunizations, and stressors in the lives of children in the study to determine the factors that could be changed to prevent diabetes.
In the project Genetic and Environmental Causes of Celiac Disease—the first population study of celiac disease in the U.S., funded since 1995—Dr. Rewers studies the occurrence of celiac disease, affecting 10% of patient with Type 1 Diabetes. In 2000, Dr. Rewers initiated a study of early detection of heart disease in 1,400 adult patients with T1D and controls to better define the causes of premature heart disease and other long-term complications in patients with T1D. This Coronary Artery Calcification in Type 1 (CACTI) Study is using electron beam computed tomography to detect and monitor progression of calcification of coronary arteries. This study has discovered a number of novel genetic, metabolic, and inflammatory factors of potential importance to prevention of diabetic complications.
Dr. Rewers has helped to train the next generation of investigators in clinical and translational research, including a number of pediatric endocrinologists. Together, they have published more than 300 original articles and reviews in the area of diabetes. Dr. Rewers served as the ADA Council and Program Chair, during 1996-2001 and as the Associate Editor of Diabetes Care, 2001-2009. In recognition of his research and clinical endeavors, Dr. Rewers has received the Michaela Modan Memorial Award and the Kelly West Award from the American Diabetes Association for outstanding achievements in epidemiology of diabetes, and the University of Pittsburgh Kenny/Drash Award. Dr. Rewers is a 2013 recipient of JDRF’s prestigious Mary Tyler Moore and S. Robert Levine Excellence in Clinical Research Award, recognizing his important contributions in the area of prevention of childhood onset T1D.