Palo Alto Medical Foundation Newsroom

American Diabetes Assoc. Awards Undergraduate Minority Internship Grant to PAMF Research Institute

Researchers at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute (PAMFRI) have received an award from the American Diabetes Association to support a minority undergraduate intern in the area of diabetes research.  The grant funds the one-year internship that began in February 2013 and finances support for an undergraduate minority student to gain valuable hands-on experience in diabetes research. 

Dr. Latha Palaniappan (left) and Perri Smith at the 2012 Stanford Human Biology Research Exploration Program Poster Session.

Perri Smith, a Stanford University student majoring in Human Biology, will join PAMFRI’s Latha Palaniappan, M.D., M.S. and her research team, to study gestational diabetes among Asian Americans. Ms. Smith has previously participated in research at PAMFRI through the Stanford Human Biology Research Exploration Program. 

Gestational diabetes occurs when women develop high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes may have increased perinatal health risks and are also at increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes later in life. 

Research has shown that Asian Americans have the highest rates of gestational diabetes in the United States, yet there is limited information regarding the racial/ethnic differences in gestational diabetes among Asian American subgroups (Asian Indians, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese). The Gestational Diabetes Study at PAMFRI seeks to better understand specific racial/ethnic differences in risk factors for gestational diabetes, problems associated with gestational diabetes, and the progression of women to type 2 diabetes following a pregnancy complicated by gestational diabetes.

“The minority undergraduate internship award will allow us to support undergraduate research while working to gain a better understanding of the predictors and problems associated with gestational diabetes among Asian Americans,” said Dr. Palaniappan.

The Gestational Diabetes Study will fill an important knowledge gap for racial/ethnic differences in gestational diabetes and provide targeted research directions and the evidence needed to develop clinical interventions, and public health guidance for gestational diabetes among Asian Americans.

 Read more PAMF Research Institute news and activities in the PAMF newsroom.