Researcher in a lab

Diabetes PROMT - T32 Predoctoral Fellowship

The bench-to-bedside-to-bench organization of the PROMT program is singular and not replicated elsewhere.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)-funded Diabetes Prevention Risk Omics Metabolism and Therapy of Diabetes (PROMT) Interdisciplinary Training Program provides two years of clinically relevant education and training to students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.

The program is designed for students with analytic skills who desire top-flight, innovative training in the physiology and pathophysiology of diabetes and metabolism that is based on a foundation of fundamental basic science, hypothesis testing, drug identification and development and clinical trials.

As such, the bench-to-bedside-to-bench organization of the PROMT program is unique with a combined basic plus translational focus. Through the PROMT program, students at City of Hope have the structure and facilities to participate in the entire process of bringing new therapies online for the care and cure of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

Central to the PROMT program mission is the integration of all program activities in order to tie together basic molecular research, state-of-the-art genomics and single cell sequencing technologies, bioinformatics research and science with drug development and clinical medicine.

Graduates will have the necessary skills and motivation to identify and overcome barriers to translating discoveries into practice for the betterment of individuals with diabetes and metabolic disease and their complications.

Predoctoral students enter the PROMT program after completing two years at the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences. The PROMT Ph.D. is accredited by the accrediting agency WASC Senior College and University Commission.


PROMT T32 Trainees

Faculty members are committed to recruiting a diverse group of students and making every effort to guarantee their success. Outstanding candidates from underrepresented groups with degrees emphasizing analytical training who have an interest in diabetes and metabolism as a career are encouraged to apply.

Researcher in a lab
Kassandra Lopez | T32 Trainee | City of Hope
Kassandra Lopez
Current Trainee
Sarah Abu-Elreich | T32 Trainee | City of Hope
Sarah Abu-Elreich
Current Trainee
Program Co-Directors
Rama Natarajan
Rama Natarajan, Ph.D.
Deputy Director, Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute
Duarte - Main Campus

Rama Natarajan is the National Business Products Industry Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research, professor and chair in the Department of Diabetes Complications & Metabolism at City of Hope.

Debbie Thurmond, Ph.D. | Director, Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute
Debbie C. Thurmond, Ph.D.
Director, Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute; Chan Soon-Shiong Shapiro Distinguished Chair in Diabetes
Duarte - Main Campus

Debbie C. Thurmond, Ph.D., is director of the Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute at City of Hope and chair and professor in the Department of Molecular & Cellular Endocrinology.

Our Way To Overcome Diabetes

The PROMT program’s faculty mentors, co-mentors and clinical partners are acknowledged experts and leaders in diabetes and metabolism research and clinical diabetes care. They will provide outstanding collaborative mentorship in diabetes research that supports the trainee’s long-term professional development. The PROMT program brings together mentors with diverse synergistic talents that cover three thematic knowledge areas:

Theme 1

Prevention/Risk/Omics researchers probe the association between diabetes and metabolic disease with respect to incidence, prognosis, risk factors, prediction, unbiased Omics profiling and biomarker identification.

Theme 2

Metabolism researchers determine the biological mechanisms that link diabetes, metabolic dysfunction. and immunity.

Theme 3

Therapy researchers identify, validate and test new therapies to limit and reverse diabetes and metabolic diseases and associated complications.

Importantly, the PROMT faculty have mentored numerous predoctoral students who are now pursuing independent research careers in academics, government and industry.

Mentors and Co-Mentors

by PROMT's Research Theme Areas









  • Yingfeng Deng, Ph.D. - Metabolic impact of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress through unfolded protein response (UPR) and its relevance to insulin resistance.
  • Adolfo Garcia-Ocaña, Ph.D. - Pancreatic beta-cell regeneration and immune tolerance  
  • Patrick Fueger, Ph.D. - Novel molecular regulators of functional beta cell mass
  • Wendong Huang, Ph.D. - Bile acid signaling; benefits of bariatric surgery
  • Ke Ma, Ph.D. - Circadian etiologies underlying metabolic disorders for targeted therapeutic interventions
  • Debbie Thurmond, Ph.D. - Molecular mechanisms regulating insulin secretion in coordination with peripheral glucose clearance and their relative contribution and importance for whole body glucose metabolism and relationship to diabetes
  • Qiong (Annabel) Wang, Ph.D. - Mechanisms that regulate the plasticity and function of adipocyte tissue to limit pathogenesis of, and develop treatments for, chronic metabolic diseases
  • Zhao Wang, Ph.D. - Pathological cardiac remodeling due to cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, cancer treatment, myocardial infarction, senescence and diabetes


Clinical Partners


T32 Application

Predoctoral T32 Application

Following matriculation into the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences, interested applicants should identify and choose a thesis mentor from the PROMT faculty, usually following several lab rotations. After the thesis mentor and student develop the applicant’s thesis project and training plan, the applicant should then complete the program application (below) at the end of the fall semester of year two. Recruitment committee members will then request an interview. The Recruitment and Program Executive committees will make the admission decisions.

View Application

Program Eligibility

Prospective candidates must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents. Successful completion of the two-year Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biologic Sciences (IMGS) core curriculum is required to be eligible for the PROMT program.

Applications are due early Spring and should include:
  • PROMT T32 application form
  • C.V.
  • List of names and contact information of three references
  • Mentor letter of support
  • City of Hope IMGS academic transcript (first two years)
Please email your application and required documents (as a single PDF that contains all the requested documents) to, with “T32 PROMT Application” denoted in the email subject line.
At the IMGS, we are proactive in fostering an equitable, inclusive and safe environment that embraces diversity and diverse perspectives. Both basic science and translational biomedical research flourish here.  Students, faculty and staff are empowered to think big and think inclusive. We promote values of scholarship, leadership, transparency and accountability in the pursuit of excellence in discovery, learning and service within a highly dynamic research environment. We believe diversity drives discovery and innovation, and we advance these guiding principles in the training of future scientific leaders. City of Hope acts in accordance with the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
About The Program

The PROMT T32 program will enroll 2 students per year and train these students to be leaders in the vanguard of transitional and clinician research. PROMT graduates will be poised to overcome the scourges of diabetes and metabolic diseases. Under the direction of a primary mentor, co-mentor and clinical partners, students will be immersed in a rich, didactic environment of cross-disciplinary translational research. 

The PROMT T32 Program is enriched by:
  • Structured education and training
  • Individualized career development
  • Didactic courses and educational opportunities within and beyond the program
  • Focused and quality training in responsible and transparent research
  • Rigorous training in scientific method, data analysis and scientific writing
  • Ongoing internal and external monitoring of student progress and mentor performance
  • One-of-a-kind access to fresh human endocrine organs, especially pancreata, islets and beta cells
  • Access to fresh and biobanked human endocrine, exocrine and vascular tissues, and immune cells
  • Multiple on-campus Food and Drug Administration-approved current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) centers for the production of cell and noncell biologic therapies to treat diabetes and metabolic diseases and associated complications
In this regard, the PROMT program is unique in its depth and breadth, while residing in the tranquil suburban campus of City of Hope.
Training Requirements

Accepted students will begin the PROMT program in the third year of IMGS education. Specific requirements included:

  • PROMT required courses (see below)
  • Perform diabetes research from years three onwards.
  • Participate in journal clubs and seminars during training.
  • Attend and present research at the annual PROMT retreat in years three onwards.
PROMT Courses:
  • Years 1 and 2: IMGS Core classes (see the IMGS handbook) and qualifying examination
  • Year 3: PROMT courses: BIOSCI 685. Advanced Topics in Diabetes: Therapeutic Targets and the Drug Development Pipeline; Diabetes Special Emphasis Translational Internship; Stress Management and Resilience Workshop; Effective Science Communication Workshop; BIOSCI 690. Advanced Topics in Diabetes and Metabolic Disease 
  • Year 4: PROMT courses: BIOSCI 570. Rigor and Reproducibility; BIOSCI 712. Diabetes and Dysfunctional Metabolism Journal Club; Diabetes Special Emphasis Translational Internship; Effective Science Communication; Public Science Communication
  • Year 5: Diabetes Research and Thesis Defense

The PROMT T32 program is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and supplemented by City of Hope to provide two years of support, including free tuition and a competitive stipend and benefits.

All PROMT faculty mentors have established laboratories resources and financial support to host and mentor PROMT predoctoral students. Generous travel support is also provided for students to attend a national/international scientific meeting annually and to present their research findings.

Contact Us

34.128199780458, -117.97393856188

1500 East Duarte Road
Duarte, CA 91010
DIversity Students Studying

Diversity And Inclusion

At City of Hope, we believe that diversity is an integral part of who we are and what we do. Since our origins in 1913, we have been a welcoming place for people of all backgrounds. Our diverse community helps us provide culturally competent education and training inspiring patient confidence in our entire institution.