Dr. Tong is an Associate Professor in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at Duke University. She completed her clinical endocrinology fellowship and Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) fellowship training at the University of Washington. She also received formal epidemiology and biostatistics training at the School of Public Health at the University of Washington where she obtained a Masters of Public Health degree.
Dr. Tong has a broad interest in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and obesity and is the PI for several ongoing clinical investigations designed to clarify the role of ghrelin, an orexigenic gut hormone, in the regulation of glucose and energy homeostasis in humans. She is also leading studies to investigate the contribution of tissue-specific ghrelin signaling to the effects of ghrelin on islet cell function, glucose tolerance, and energy intake in rodents. In addition, she uses a translational approach to study the effect of ghrelin on olfaction and sniffing behavior, functions related to food intake. She is experienced in performing studies to measure insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, food intake, body composition and energy metabolism in rodents and humans. She is also knowledgeable about biostatistics and epidemiology methods. She is currently collaborating with the investigators at the School of Public Health at Harvard and the Pennington Biomedical Research Center to identify psychological, behavioral and biological factors that influence weight loss and weight regain using data collected from the POUNDS LOST trial. Her research has been funded by the NIH/NIDDK since 2007. She has a well-equipped laboratory located at the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute that can perform a wide range of assays to quantify gut hormones, islet hormones and adipokines. The objectives of her current R01 projects are to better understand the role of acyl and desacyl ghrelin in the regulation of glucose metabolism in healthy individuals and those with type 2 diabetes.
Besides conducting research, Dr. Tong provides clinical care to patients with endocrine disorders and diabetes at the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery clinic.