Rebecca Hull-Meichle, PhD


  • Director, Diabetes and the Islet Research Program, UW Medicine Diabetes Institute
  • Research Professor of Medicine, Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition and VA Puget Sound Health Care System
  • Director, Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core, UW DRC
  • Director, Diabetes and Metabolism Enrichment Program

Dr. Rebecca Hull received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Nottingham in 1999, after which she came to the University of Washington to undertake her postdoctoral training with Dr. Steven Kahn, an internationally-renowned expert in the field of type 2 diabetes pathogenesis. Throughout her time in Seattle she has also worked closely with Dr. Thomas Wight.

Dr. Hull was appointed to the faculty in 2004 and is now a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and a Research Biologist at VA Puget Sound Health Care System. She directs the Islet Biology/Insulin Sensitivity Program of the UWMDI, and also serves as director of the Cellular and Molecular Imaging Core and the Diabetes and Metabolism Enrichment Program of the NIDDK-funded University of Washington Diabetes Research Center.

Since her appointment to the faculty, Dr. Hull has maintained a research program that has been continuously funded by NIH, along with other sources (including VA, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and multiple Investigator-Initiated Awards from industry). Mentoring is a major focus of Dr. Hull’s career; she has trained several postdoctoral fellows along with numerous medical and undergraduate students.

Dr. Hull is currently a Senior Editor for the Journal of Endocrinology and Journal of Molecular Endocrinology and is a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry. She has served on several grant review panels, including the American Diabetes Association Research Grant Review Committee.

Research Interests

Dr. Hull’s research focuses on the mechanisms of pancreatic islet -cell failure in type 2 diabetes. She is investigating the role of the islet endothelial cell and the associated islet extracellular matrix in in determining -cell function and survival under conditions of health and disease. A long-term interest of her laboratory is the role of islet amyloid deposition in -cell loss and dysfunction; she is currently studying the role of the islet endothelial cell in this process. Additionally, she is helping define the role of the islet in cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, a common but poorly understood complication of CF.

How can this research help people with diabetes?

Progressive failure of islet β cell function and survival is the critical defect that underlies the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Our data show that, like other tissues, blood vessels in the islet are affected in diabetes and contribute to β cell failure. Harnessing this knowledge to develop new, better therapies for people with type 2 diabetes will improve the lives of people with this debilitating disease.