Sarah Tersey - The University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center

Sarah Tersey

December 17, 2019

Karen Wu



Sarah Tersey


Research Associate Professor of Medicine


Dr. Sarah Tersey is an islet biologist whose research focuses on the role of the β-cell in the development of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Tersey received her bachelor’s from Colorado State University and her PhD from the University of Massachusetts. Dr. Tersey subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as a diabetes fellowship at the University of Virginia. She then joined the research faculty at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2008. Dr. Tersey joined the University of Chicago research faculty in November of 2019 as a Research Associate Professor of Medicine.


The primary goal of her research focuses on understanding the molecular pathways that play a role in the development of diabetes. Specifically, pathways that include the enzymes 12-lipoxygnease and deoxyhypusine synthase. By using inhibitors against these pathways or creating genetic deletions of either of these genes, Dr. Tersey has shown that diabetes can be prevented.  A second major focus of my research is the development of biomarkers that will best predict the likelihood of any one individual’s risk to develop type 1 diabetes. Within this concept, she demonstrated that the dysfunction of the pancreatic islet precedes the onset of type 1 diabetes. This research has changed the standard dogma of the islet as a silent bystander to the immune system, to the new way of thinking – that the pancreatic islet is a major player in its own demise during the pre-course of type 1 diabetes



Research Interests:


Role of the dysfunctional β-cell in the pathogenesis of type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Development of biomarkers for the measurement of β-cell dysfunction and death


Selected Publications:


Tersey SA, Nishiki Y, Templin AT, Cabrera SM, Stull ND, Colvin SC, Evans-Molina C, Rickus JL, Maier B, Mirmira RG. (2012) Islet beta cell endoplasmic reticulum stress precedes the onset of type 1 diabetes in the non-obese diabetic mouse model. Diabetes 2012 61(4): 818-27. PMCID: PMC3314371.


Hernandex-Perez M, Chopra G, Fine J, Anderson RM, Benjamin C, Nalder JL, Maloney DJ, Tersey SA, Mirmira RG. (2017) Inhibition of 12/15-Lipoxygenase Protects Against β-Cell Oxidative Stress and Glycemic Deterioration in Mouse Models of Type 1 Diabetes. Diabetes, 66(11):2875-87. PMID: 28842399


Levasseur EM, Yamada K, Wu W, Piñeros Alvarez AR, Syed F, Orr KS, Mastracci TL, Mosley AL, Liu Y, Bernal-Mizrachi E, Alonso L, Scott D, Garcia-Ocaña A, Tersey SA, Mirmira RG. Hypusine biosynthesis in β cells links polyamine metabolism to facultative cellular proliferation to maintain glucose homeostasis. Science Signaling, accepted.




PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Fellowship, University of Virginia




American Diabetes Association Junior Faculty Award

Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute Young Investigator Award