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Sonia M. Najjar, PhD, Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research (CeDER).
Dr. Najjar earned a PhD degree in Physiology at Stanford University School of Medicine in 1989, and completed her post-doctoral fellowship training at the Diabetes Branch at the NIH in 1994. Subsequently, she joined the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Toledo College of Medicine at the Assistant Professor rank. In 2006, she became Founding Director of CeDER.
Dr. Najjar’s research focuses on identifying the genetic and environmental interactions underlying obesity, type 2 diabetes and their cardiovascular complications.
The laboratory pioneered the finding that CEACAM1 plays a key role in regulating insulin action by promoting insulin clearance in liver. By generating mouse models of loss- or gain-of function of this protein, the Najjar team observed that genetic inactivation/deletion of this protein causes insulin resistance, obesity and fatty liver disease, in addition to predisposing to type 2 diabetes and Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in response to high-fat diet. Current studies focus on the role of CEACAM1 in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and common types of cancer.
The Najjar laboratory also investigates the central role of CEACAM2 proteins in insulin secretion and energy balance.
Dr. Najjar has published more than 60 peer-reviewed original research articles with seminal work in leading journals and more than 10 book chapters on diabetes and insulin action.
Dr. Najjar has attained an international acclaim, delivering lectures in major national and international meetings. Her research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies.