Dr. Laura C. Alonso, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Beta Cell Biological Studies at the UMass Medical School, holds the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Term Chair in Diabetes. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard in Biochemistry and her medical diploma from the University of Pennsylvania. Following a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago, she began fellowship training in Endocrinology and Metabolism, also at the University of Chicago, simultaneously with a five-year intensive research training experience in the laboratory of Elaine Fuchs studying cellular tissue dynamics in the cycling hair follicle. When Dr. Fuchs moved her lab to the Rockefeller University in 2002, Dr. Alonso moved with her, continuing her clinical training in endocrinology at New York University. Her first faculty position was at the University of Pittsburgh, where she trained with Dr. Andrew Stewart in pancreatic islet biology. An NIH K08 award funded development of an in vivo hyperglycemia model of pancreatic beta cell regeneration in mice, which she used to address unanswered questions regarding the relative roles of glucose and insulin on beta cell proliferation. Her first R01 investigated the intriguing finding that hyperlipidemia exerts a negative impact on beta cell regeneration, which could have implications for metabolic disease. In 2015 she published a breakthrough observation: that induction of modest ER stress triggers beta cell replication, addressing an important unsolved conundrum of how pancreatic beta cell mass self-adjusts to match insulin demand. Dr. Alonso currently leads a basic research lab at the UMass Medical School studying the basic biology of pancreatic beta cell regeneration. She serves on multiple editorial boards and grant review panels. In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Alonso sees patients in the Diabetes Clinic in the Ambulatory Care Center at UMass Memorial Medical Center.
Laura Cristina Alonso, MD