ABOUT THE RESEARCHER

OVERVIEW

The importance of maintaining blood glucose levels within a narrow target range is well established in both the critical care setting and day-to-day lives of individuals with diabetes. In the critical care setting high blood glucose, known as stress hyperglycemia, occurs when the body’s insulin producing â-cells cannot meet the increased demand for insulin brought about as a result of the underlying critical illness1. This is similar to the conditions underlying type 2 diabetes, where the body again cannot make sufficient insulin to bring glucose levels under control, and the condition in type 1 diabetes, where the body’s â-cells have been destroyed by an underlying immune disorder. In the ICU, stress hyperglycemia has immediate detrimental effects including possibly an increased risk of mortality; in individuals with diabetes the detrimental effects can slowly manifest over time.

Dr. Steil’s research at BCH seeks to combine continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technologies developed to aid individuals with diabetes, with insulin dosing strategies derived from understanding of how the â-cell controls blood glucose when able2. His initial research in this area was targeted toward developing an artificial pancreas3 for individuals with type 1 diabetes. Those efforts continue today, with the focus now on younger children with diabetes4. The research has also be expanded to effect better glucose control in the ICU5, 6.

BACKGROUND

Dr. Steil received a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University in Southern California, in Los Angeles California. Prior to receiving his Ph.D. he received a B.Sc. and a M.Sc., both in Electrical Engineering, from the University of Alberta in Edmonton Alberta Canada. He also worked as postdoctoral fellow at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston looking for new ways to transplant islets (another approach to addressing the insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetes), as well as in industry where he sought to develop the first commercially available artificial pancreas that could be made widely available to individuals with the disease.