Thomas A. Buchanan, MD

Thomas A. Buchanan, MD, is Professor of Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Physiology and Biophysics; Vice Dean for Research; Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes in the Department of Medicine in Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. He is the founding director and principal investigator of USC’s new Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

Dr. Buchanan received his medical degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, where he completed residency training in internal medicine. He completed his fellowship training in endocrinology and metabolism at Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Buchanan conducts research into the etiology, pathogenesis, genetics and prevention of gestational and type 2 diabetes with a focus on diabetes in Hispanic Americans. Buchanan and colleagues have conducted longitudinal studies of high risk individuals to define patterns of change in insulin resistance and insulin secretion that lead to type 2 diabetes. Based on their findings, they then conducted the first successful type 2 diabetes prevention study in the United States. The biological information gained from that study pointed to a specific pancreatic beta cell defect that is heritable, a finding that formed the basis for a large family based study that has helped to identify the genetic basis for the metabolic abnormalities that lead to type 2 diabetes. In aggregate studies performed by Buchanan and his colleagues have contributed to important advances in clinical care for gestational diabetes and the prevention of type 2 diabetes in Hispanic Americans.

Dr. Buchanan has championed the development of clinical and translational research at USC, first through his role as director of the General Clinical Research Center (1996-2010). In 2010, he led the team that created the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute, which in turn won a prestigious Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Institutes of Health to support and promote scientific discoveries and their application in real-life settings to health and health care.