Global Diabetes Institute

Faculty and Staff

meredith hawkinsDr. Meredith Hawkins, MD, MS 

Dr. Hawkins is Harold and Muriel Block Professor of Medicine, co-director of the Diabetes Research Center, and founder and director of the Global Diabetes Institute at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Dr. Hawkins’ current research interests involve examination of the multi-organ pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus and of ‘malnutrition modulated diabetes mellitus’, demonstrating the paradox whereby related etiologies can fuel metabolic disease at both ends of the nutritional spectrum. At a basic science level, her work is focused on examining how adipose tissue inflammation and tissue triglyceride deposition contribute to whole-body insulin sensitivity. Her work has been recognized by the following prestigious honors and awards: the Novartis Young Investigator Award, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation of Medical Research, the Beeson Award from the American Federation of Aging Research, and election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Over the past 16 years, Dr. Hawkins has mentored more than 60 M.D. students, residents, fellows and junior faculty members at Einstein. As Director of the Global Diabetes Institute, she has been conducting comprehensive metabolic studies in partnership with Christian Medical College, Vellore for the past 6 years as well as building partnerships in Uganda. Since 2005, Dr. Hawkins has served in the leadership of the annual International Continuing Medical Education Meetings, to educate doctors around Africa and Asia (particularly in low income settings) in comprehensive diabetes management.

 
 
 

Anneka WickramanayakeAnneka Wickramanayake, MPH 

Anneka Wickramanayake is Program Manager for the Global Diabetes Institute. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics with a specialty in Global Health from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Anneka has experience in implementing community and hospital-based health interventions in developing countries. She has worked in rural hospitals in Tanzania and Uganda, to foster excellence in patient care. She has also participated in community health, through community based health education interventions and surveillance initiatives in Uganda. 

Anneka has an interest in working with refugee populations, and has participated in programs with the Tibetan refugee community in India and Nepal, as well as refugee resettlement programs in Northern California.  

Her diverse interests and experience center on providing directed health care through evidence-based interventions to under-served populations. Her current work focuses on diabetes research and programming in the developing world. 

 
 
 

nihal thomasDr. Nihal Thomas, MD, MNB 

Dr. Nihal Thomas is Professor of Medicine, Head of the Endocrinology Department, and Vice Principal for Research at Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.

Dr. Thomas has authored more than 110 (pubmed indexed) manuscripts. He has supervised more than 30 international clinical trials as well as collaborative hypothesis-driven research. He is experienced in metabolism studies and has established a state-of-the-art Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory at CMC that includes next-generation sequencing facilities. Dr. Thomas also has expertise in conducting epidemiological studies of diabetes in schools and remote and low-income rural areas. In the past 10 years, Dr. Thomas has mentored over 50 residents, students and fellows at CMC. Over the past 6 years, he was awarded $4M USD in research and training grants from various international agencies. In 2009, Dr. Thomas set up a distance diabetes education course funded by Project HOPE-USA, which trains health professionals throughout India and from other countries.

Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards including the Young Investigator of the Year Award from Inclen in 2003, Lourde Yedanapalli award for Outstanding Researcher in 2009, and the MMS Ahuja Oration at ESICON-2012. He has served on domestic and international (Karolinska Institute, University of Sydney) PhD committees. Dr. Thomas actively collaborates with researchers at Copenhagen University, Oxford University, Karolinska Institute and Einstein. In addition, he has edited two books, is an Associate Editor for the Indian Journal of Endocrinology, and an Editorial Board member for the journal Clinical Endocrinology.

 
 
 

elizabeth walkerDr. Elizabeth Walker, PhD, RN, CDE 

Dr. Walker is director of the prevention and control core for the Diabetes Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University as well as professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health.

Dr. Walker has deep experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of a number of diabetes self-management interventions, which include healthy eating, physical activity, and medication adherence components; all are grounded in behavioural theory. She is experienced in research interventions that range from research capacity-building for health care professionals in community health centers, to peer training and peer-based interventions in the community.

Dr. Walker is currently the principal investigator of a large behavioral intervention study in minority diabetes populations and has completed several National Eye Institute studies to promote ophthalmic examinations. She is a behavioral scientist and co-investigator for the multi-center Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) and co-chairs the DPP Medication Adherence Workgroup.

A diabetes nurse specialist and certified diabetes educator, Professor Walker was co-chair of an expert panel on risk perception and decision-making in chronic disease affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has also served as national President of Health Care & Education of the American Diabetes Association. In 2008, she was named a Fellow of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

 
 
 

Eric Lontchi YimagouDr Eric Lontchi Yimagou, PhD, MPH 

Dr. Eric Lontchi Yimagou is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Global Diabetes Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Meredith Hawkins at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, supported by a fellowship grant from the American Diabetes Association, and enrolled in Einstein’s Clinical Research Training Program. For the past 10 years he has been actively involved in projects related to the epidemiology and pathophysiology of diabetes, both at national and international levels. Eric is originally from Cameroon. He received his MSc degree in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon) in 2010 and his PhD in Physiology and Pathophysiology from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris, France) in 2015 under the mentorship of Professors Jean Claude Mbanya, Eugene Sobngwi and Jean Francois Gautier. During his PhD, Eric investigated the role of human herpes virus type 8 infection and inflammation in ketosis prone diabetes (KPD), a unique phenotype of diabetes most frequently seen in people originating from Africa. He also holds a Master in Public Health and Nutrition from the University of Paris 13.

Dr. Lontchi Yimagou’s current research interests examine the multi-organ pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and “low body mass index diabetes”; the counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes; the role of central nervous system on the regulation of glucose metabolism and how nutrients contribute to adipose tissue inflammation. He has traveled to Christian Medical College, Vellore, India several times in the past 4 years to oversee a research project delineating the pathogenesis of malnutrition diabetes. 

He has been invited to present his research findings at several national and international conferences, including Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, the European Association of the Study of Diabetes, the American Federation of Medical Research (AFMR) and the African Diabetes Congress. He has published more than 20 original research articles in peer reviewed journals. He is recipient  of numerous honors and awards, including the Einstein/Montefiore Young Investigators Awards (USA, 2019), the American Diabetes Association postdoctoral fellowship (USA, 2018), the Henry Christian and the Eastern Regional Scholar Awards from the American Federation for Medical Research (USA, 2017), a fellowship grant from l'Institut Servier (Paris, 2015), a fellowship grant from the French Government (Paris, 2014), and the Jean Claude Mbanya Fellowship Award from the African Diabetes Congress (Cameroon, 2014). More recently, Eric was selected as a Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Fellow, a program that identifies Africa’s most promising young scientists (https://nef.org/fellow/dr-eric-lontchi-yimagou-phd-mph/ ).

 
 
 

meredith hawkinsDr. Meredith Hawkins, MD, MS 

Dr. Hawkins is Harold and Muriel Block Professor of Medicine, co-director of the Diabetes Research Center, and founder and director of the Global Diabetes Institute at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Dr. Hawkins’ current research interests involve examination of the multi-organ pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus and of ‘malnutrition modulated diabetes mellitus’, demonstrating the paradox whereby related etiologies can fuel metabolic disease at both ends of the nutritional spectrum. At a basic science level, her work is focused on examining how adipose tissue inflammation and tissue triglyceride deposition contribute to whole-body insulin sensitivity. Her work has been recognized by the following prestigious honors and awards: the Novartis Young Investigator Award, the Outstanding Investigator Award from the American Federation of Medical Research, the Beeson Award from the American Federation of Aging Research, and election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation.

Over the past 16 years, Dr. Hawkins has mentored more than 60 M.D. students, residents, fellows and junior faculty members at Einstein. As Director of the Global Diabetes Institute, she has been conducting comprehensive metabolic studies in partnership with Christian Medical College, Vellore for the past 6 years as well as building partnerships in Uganda. Since 2005, Dr. Hawkins has served in the leadership of the annual International Continuing Medical Education Meetings, to educate doctors around Africa and Asia (particularly in low income settings) in comprehensive diabetes management.

 
 
 

Anneka WickramanayakeAnneka Wickramanayake, MPH 

Anneka Wickramanayake is Program Manager for the Global Diabetes Institute. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics with a specialty in Global Health from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Anneka has experience in implementing community and hospital-based health interventions in developing countries. She has worked in rural hospitals in Tanzania and Uganda, to foster excellence in patient care. She has also participated in community health, through community based health education interventions and surveillance initiatives in Uganda. 

Anneka has an interest in working with refugee populations, and has participated in programs with the Tibetan refugee community in India and Nepal, as well as refugee resettlement programs in Northern California.  

Her diverse interests and experience center on providing directed health care through evidence-based interventions to under-served populations. Her current work focuses on diabetes research and programming in the developing world. 

 
 
 

nihal thomasDr. Nihal Thomas, MD, MNB 

Dr. Nihal Thomas is Professor of Medicine, Head of the Endocrinology Department, and Vice Principal for Research at Christian Medical College, Vellore, India.

Dr. Thomas has authored more than 110 (pubmed indexed) manuscripts. He has supervised more than 30 international clinical trials as well as collaborative hypothesis-driven research. He is experienced in metabolism studies and has established a state-of-the-art Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory at CMC that includes next-generation sequencing facilities. Dr. Thomas also has expertise in conducting epidemiological studies of diabetes in schools and remote and low-income rural areas. In the past 10 years, Dr. Thomas has mentored over 50 residents, students and fellows at CMC. Over the past 6 years, he was awarded $4M USD in research and training grants from various international agencies. In 2009, Dr. Thomas set up a distance diabetes education course funded by Project HOPE-USA, which trains health professionals throughout India and from other countries.

Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards including the Young Investigator of the Year Award from Inclen in 2003, Lourde Yedanapalli award for Outstanding Researcher in 2009, and the MMS Ahuja Oration at ESICON-2012. He has served on domestic and international (Karolinska Institute, University of Sydney) PhD committees. Dr. Thomas actively collaborates with researchers at Copenhagen University, Oxford University, Karolinska Institute and Einstein. In addition, he has edited two books, is an Associate Editor for the Indian Journal of Endocrinology, and an Editorial Board member for the journal Clinical Endocrinology.

 
 
 

elizabeth walkerDr. Elizabeth Walker, PhD, RN, CDE 

Dr. Walker is director of the prevention and control core for the Diabetes Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University as well as professor of medicine and of epidemiology & population health.

Dr. Walker has deep experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of a number of diabetes self-management interventions, which include healthy eating, physical activity, and medication adherence components; all are grounded in behavioural theory. She is experienced in research interventions that range from research capacity-building for health care professionals in community health centers, to peer training and peer-based interventions in the community.

Dr. Walker is currently the principal investigator of a large behavioral intervention study in minority diabetes populations and has completed several National Eye Institute studies to promote ophthalmic examinations. She is a behavioral scientist and co-investigator for the multi-center Diabetes Prevention Program Outcomes Study (DPPOS) and co-chairs the DPP Medication Adherence Workgroup.

A diabetes nurse specialist and certified diabetes educator, Professor Walker was co-chair of an expert panel on risk perception and decision-making in chronic disease affiliated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She has also served as national President of Health Care & Education of the American Diabetes Association. In 2008, she was named a Fellow of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

 
 
 

Eric Lontchi YimagouDr Eric Lontchi Yimagou, PhD, MPH 

Dr. Eric Lontchi Yimagou is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Global Diabetes Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Meredith Hawkins at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, supported by a fellowship grant from the American Diabetes Association, and enrolled in Einstein’s Clinical Research Training Program. For the past 10 years he has been actively involved in projects related to the epidemiology and pathophysiology of diabetes, both at national and international levels. Eric is originally from Cameroon. He received his MSc degree in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon) in 2010 and his PhD in Physiology and Pathophysiology from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie (Paris, France) in 2015 under the mentorship of Professors Jean Claude Mbanya, Eugene Sobngwi and Jean Francois Gautier. During his PhD, Eric investigated the role of human herpes virus type 8 infection and inflammation in ketosis prone diabetes (KPD), a unique phenotype of diabetes most frequently seen in people originating from Africa. He also holds a Master in Public Health and Nutrition from the University of Paris 13.

Dr. Lontchi Yimagou’s current research interests examine the multi-organ pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and “low body mass index diabetes”; the counterregulatory response to hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes; the role of central nervous system on the regulation of glucose metabolism and how nutrients contribute to adipose tissue inflammation. He has traveled to Christian Medical College, Vellore, India several times in the past 4 years to oversee a research project delineating the pathogenesis of malnutrition diabetes. 

He has been invited to present his research findings at several national and international conferences, including Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, the European Association of the Study of Diabetes, the American Federation of Medical Research (AFMR) and the African Diabetes Congress. He has published more than 20 original research articles in peer reviewed journals. He is recipient  of numerous honors and awards, including the Einstein/Montefiore Young Investigators Awards (USA, 2019), the American Diabetes Association postdoctoral fellowship (USA, 2018), the Henry Christian and the Eastern Regional Scholar Awards from the American Federation for Medical Research (USA, 2017), a fellowship grant from l'Institut Servier (Paris, 2015), a fellowship grant from the French Government (Paris, 2014), and the Jean Claude Mbanya Fellowship Award from the African Diabetes Congress (Cameroon, 2014). More recently, Eric was selected as a Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Fellow, a program that identifies Africa’s most promising young scientists (https://nef.org/fellow/dr-eric-lontchi-yimagou-phd-mph/ ).

 
 
 
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