The Diabetes Research Center was conceived in 2000 as a collaboration between the Endocrine Divisions of UCLA and UCSD. The concept was quickly expanded to include the Salk Institute and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, as well as numerous other Divisions of UCSD and UCLA. The first application to NIDDK/NIH for a DRC was submitted in 2002. It was funded in 2003 offering four Core facilities, Pilot and Feasibility grants, and Educational opportunities.

In 2008, the DRC was competitively renewed for five years. The original PI, Dr. Willa Hsueh, left UCLA in 2007 to take a new position in Houston, and Dr. Jerrold Olefsky of UCSD assumed responsibility as PI. The competing renewal for years 11-15 scored a perfect 10 in 2012, and was renewed as a Diabetes Research Center (DRC) from 2013 through 2018. At that time, the Center expanded to include five core facilities.

In 2014, the DRC further expanded to include the LA Biomedical Research Institute, which is closely affiliated with the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, bringing our total number of affiliated institutions to five. In 2015, Dr. Alan Saltiel was recruited to UC San Diego from the University of Michigan to create and lead a new Institute for Diabetes and Metabolic Health. He now serves as Director of the DRC, with Drs. Peter Tontonoz, Jerome Rotter and Jerrold Olefsky as Co-Directors. The DRC is currently comprised of five cores: the Transgenic, CRISPR Mutagenesis, and Knockout Mouse Core at UCSD, the Metabolic and Molecular Physiology Core at UCLA, the Genomics and Epigenetics Core at UCSD, the Human Genetics Core at LA Biomed and Cedars Sinai, and the Targeted Pathway Analysis Core at UCLA and UCSD.

In our new streamlined organization, Cedars Sinai and Harbor-UCLA now operateunder the auspices of UCLA, where all faculty members have academic appointments, while faculty at the Salk Institute now operate under the auspices of UCSD, where Salk faculty also have academic appointments, such that all administrative and fiscal issues are solely the responsibility of UCSD and UCLA.