Anastassios Pittas, MD MS

Principal Investigator

Dr. Pittas is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, an Adjunct Associate Professor of Nutrition and Policy at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition, Science and Policy and a Center Scientist at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University

Dr. Pittas received his B.S. degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his M.D. degree from Cornell University Medical College.  After completing his Internal Medicine Residency at the New-York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, NY and his Fellowship in Endocrinology at Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA, he joined the staff in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Tufts Medical Center where he has been active in clinical care, research and teaching as they relate to the prevention and treatment of diabetes mellitus. Dr. Pittas serves as the Co-Director of the Dr. Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman New York Foundation for Medical Research Diabetes Self-Education Program and as the Associate Director of the Endocrinology Fellowship Program at Tufts Medical Center.  Dr. Pittas earned his M.S. degree in Clinical Research from Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University in 2006. He is Diplomat of the American Board in Endocrinology and Metabolism.  Dr. Pittas’ was the recipient of a National Institutes of Health K23 Career Development Award. His work on the role of vitamin D and calcium in cardiometabolic disease has been supported by the R01, R21 and U34 mechanisms of the National Institutes of Health (NIDDK and ODS) and the American Diabetes Association.  He has co-authored over 60 publications including peer-reviewed journals, books, book chapters and evidence-based reports.

Bess Dawson-Hughes, MD


Dr. Dawson-Hughes, M.D. graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine and completed her internship at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton, MA. She became Chief Resident in Medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital and went on to an endocrine fellowship at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She subsequently received an Individual National Research Service Award at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Dawson-Hughes has served on the councils of several professional organizations, including the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, the American Society of Clinical Nutrition and the International Bone and Mineral Society. Dr. Dawson-Hughes served as Principal Investigator of the NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases Resource Center in Washington, DC from 1998-2003, served on the Advisory Council of the National Institute of Arthritis, Musculo-skeletal, and Skin Diseases from 2000-2004, and served as President of the National Osteoporosis Foundation from 2002-2005. She also served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research from 1994 through 2002. Dr. Dawson-Hughes has published over 350 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, abstracts, and reviews. Her current research is directed at examining ways in which calcium, vitamin D influence risk of osteoporotic fractures and progression of other chronic diseases. Dr. Dawson-Hughes is frequently invited to speak to scientific and clinical groups both nationally and internationally about her research and on current advances in the diagnosis and treatment of bone diseases.

David D’Alessio, MD

Co-Investigator (DDM2 study, Cincinnati site)

Dr. D’Alessio is Professor of Medicine at the University of Cincinnati School of Medicine and Director of the Division of Endocrinology. He is a staff physician at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center and Chief of the Endocrinology and Diabetes Section. Dr D’Alessio has a primary research interest in the regulation of glucose tolerance and abnormalities that lead to type 2 diabetes. Work in his lab is directed at the interplay between circulating glucose, GI hormones and neural signals to control insulin secretion. The focus is the gut peptide GLP-1 and its role in normal physiology, type 2 diabetes and bariatric surgery.

Paul Fuss

Project Manager (DDM2 study, Tufts site)

Paul Fuss received his B.A. degree from the University of Michigan and has over 20 years of experience as a research coordinator and project manager in nutrition-based clinical research, including multi-center clinical trials, conducted at the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. He served as the site Project Manager for the multi-center CALERIE Study, a large and very complex trial on calorie restriction and the aging process. Most recently, he completed a field study on the effectiveness of a new micronutrient-rich supplemental food on improving the health and nutritional status of primary school-aged children in the West African country of Guinea-Bissau. Mr. Fuss joined the research team in the Division of Endocrinology at Tufts Medical Center in 2012.

Ellen Vickery, MS

Research Coordinator (DDM2 study, Tufts site)

Ellen Vickery received her B.A. in Environmental Studies from New York University and her M.S. in Nutritional Epidemiology from the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Prior to joining the team in the Division of Endocrinology, Ms. Vickery served for six years as a member of the Coordinating Center staff for the multi-center NHLBI-funded IMMEDIATE Trial, first as a research assistant and then as a research coordinator. The study examined the efficacy of an intravenous solution of glucose, insulin and potassium for improving outcomes in patients experiencing acute coronary syndromes and was completed in 2012.

Sarah Gunn, MS

Research Coordinator (DDM2 study, Tufts site)

Sarah Gunn earned her B.A. in Humanistic Studies from Saint Mary’s College, IN and her M.S. in Health Communication from Tufts University School of Medicine. Ms. Gunn came to the DDM2 team after working as a clinical evaluation coordinator and research assistant at Tufts Medical Center. Her previous research experience includes another study examining the effects of Vitamin D on weight-related health outcomes, as well as a quality improvement and risk management study of resident communication during the patient hand-off.

Yan Chu, BS

Research Coordinator (DDM2 study, Tufts site)

Yan Chu received her B.S. degree in Biology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy from Brandeis University. Ms. Chu previously served as an undergraduate research assistant at a nutrition laboratory at Brandeis University, studying diet interventions that deter or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. She also completed an internship at a pediatric obesity clinic at Kentucky Children’s Hospital, where she assisted clinical staff with delivery of care and program planning. Ms. Chu joined the research team in the Division of Endocrinology at Tufts Medical Center in 2013.

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