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Wake Forest Baptist Names Nationally Recognized Researcher as Director of New Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Center

Donald A. McClain, M.D., Ph.D., a nationally recognized leader in diabetes and obesity research, has been named founding director of the new Center on Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

McClain will join Wake Forest Baptist on April 1 from the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, where he has held a number of leadership positions since 1999.

“The new center will give us the opportunity to greatly enhance our research in diabetes, obesity and related conditions and foster quicker translation from basic to clinical to population studies,” said Edward Abraham, M.D., dean of Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Dr. McClain is eminently qualified to direct the development of the center and its strategic mission.”

As director of the Center on Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, McClain will oversee its research and training activities, including its collaborative efforts with other Wake Forest Baptist researchers, and the recruitment of additional investigators. He also will work closely with the Joslin Diabetes Center and the Department of Internal Medicine’s Section on Endocrinology and Metabolism, where he will have a faculty appointment, and see patients at the Salisbury Veterans Administration Medical Center (VMAC).

A native of Fayetteville, McClain received his bachelor’s degree from Haverford College in Pennsylvania and a joint M.D.-Ph.D. from Rockefeller University–Cornell Medical College in New York City. He completed an internship and residency in internal medicine at Stanford University and a fellowship in endocrinology at the University of California, San Diego, where he was an assistant professor of medicine.

He was as an associate professor of medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a clinical investigator and endocrinology section chief at the Birmingham VAMC, then a professor of medicine and physiology and director of endocrinology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and a clinical investigator at the Jackson VAMC.

At the University of Utah Medical Center where he holds an endowed chair in diabetes research, McClain’s positions have included professor of internal medicine and biochemistry; director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism; director of the NIH-funded Center for Clinical and Translational Science; director of the Huntsman General Clinical Research Center; and associate vice president for translational research. He also has been endocrinology chief at the Salt Lake VAMC.

Board-certified in internal medicine and endocrinology and metabolism, McClain has published more than 100 scholarly articles and book chapters. He has served as chair of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) study section on cellular aspects of diabetes and obesity and as an adviser or reviewer for several NIH, Defense Department and Veterans Administration study sections.

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