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Presenter Profile: Joint ADA/EASD Symposium—Precision Medicine in Diabetes (PMDI)


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Joint ADA/EASD Symposium—Precision Medicine in Diabetes (PMDI)

Saturday, June 24, at 4:30 p.m. PT
Ballroom 20A-C
San Diego Convention Center
(Livestream Available)

Presentation: Precision Medicine in Gestational Diabetes

Zhila Semnani-Azad, PhD
Zhila Semnani-Azad, PhD

Zhila Semnani-Azad, PhD

Research Fellow,
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

What is your presentation about?
My presentation will shed light on the current literature focusing on prognostic conditions, risk factors, and biomarkers among women and children affected by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) pregnancies. I will highlight important clinical endpoints of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes among women with a history of GDM; and adiposity and cardiometabolic risk profile among offspring exposed to GDM in utero. The aim of this work is to demonstrate the gaps in the current literature and the efforts needed to better understand more targeted approaches for both women and offsprings exposed to GDM.

What makes this topic important in 2023?
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the most common metabolic disorder of pregnancy and an important risk factor for the development of cardiometabolic diseases; yet, the literature investigating exposure of GDM and the onset of these diseases are weak. Highlighting the efforts that need to still be done to have a better understanding of this association is critical.

How did you become involved with this area of diabetes research or care?
My many mentors throughout my doctoral and postdoctoral research training have inspired me to explore the area of type 2 diabetes. My primary research has focused on obesity and the onset of cardiometabolic diseases; however, more recently I have been privileged to expand this work on different populations and their risks to such disease outcomes. As an active member of the ADA/EASD PMDI research group, I have been able to explore this, and related risk factors, in the GDM population and I am now developing projects to further investigate this area.

How do you think your presentation will impact diabetes research or care?
As interest in the application of precision prognostics to improve health for both women and children affected by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) pregnancies increases, there remains a need to establish a foundational knowledge base regarding traditional prognostic factors, which will thus enhance our ability to identify novel prognostic biomarkers that improve risk stratification for unfavorable health outcomes among GDM mother-offspring dyads. My presentation will emphasize the limitations in the current literature and identify areas in which further research is needed to help improve precision prognostics in this population.

What are you most looking forward to at the 83rd Scientific Sessions?
I am very much looking forward to connecting with past and present mentors, colleagues, and collaborators; as well as, learning about the latest research and discoveries in the field, and meeting new friends!