Damon Tojjar is a medical doctor and a PhD-candidate in diabetes genetics. He received his MD from Lund University, which at the time is the highest ranked medical school in Sweden. Due to particular interest in diabetes research, Damon joined Lund University Diabetes Centre (LUDC) during his first year of medical school. LUDC is one of the internationally recognized frontiers in the field of diabetes research and is part of Linné Centre of Excellence in Sweden, under supervision of Prof Leif Groop.
Damon’s research focus has been to investigate molecular characteristics during stress and potential risk of diabetes. During his PhD training, he has been acquainted with various laboratory and experimental techniques (e.g. animal studies, ex vivo cell cultures, human tissues), enabling to identify polymorphism in human ADRA2A gene and demonstrate its role in increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and resulting in a high-impact publication in one of the most prestigious scientific journals. The findings in this study have lead to a double-blinded randomized trial to study Yohimbine as a potential alpha-2a antagonist (i.e. new indication; drug repositioning). The study represents one of the first attempts to personalized treatment for T2D based on genotype.
As a result of Damon’s seminal work, he has been granted an Anna Lindh fellowship to collaborate with Dr Atul Butte and Dr Keiichi Kodama at Stanford University. Dr Butte is chief of the Division of Systems Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics. The Butte lab is recognized as being one of the best bioinformatics research groups in the world and Dr Kodama is a highly experienced clinician and well-recognized researcher in the field of diabetes.
This fellowhip resulted in a publication on the ethnic differences in the relationship between insulin sensitivity and insulin response in a highly respected medical journal. Further, the fellowship gave the opportunity to help to understand the role of CD44 receptor in adipose tissue with T2D and to stimulate the initiative of several new exciting projects that are in the pipeline.