30 April DRC Director's Report - April 2020 April 30, 2020 By The Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center 0 I am excited to report that Sam Stephens, PhD, Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center member, and Assistant Professor of Internal and Molecular Medicine was recently awarded a $1.2 million grant. The grant was awarded by the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), administered by the Department of Defense for diabetes research. Dr. Stephens’ laboratory project “Exhausted Protein Sorting Capacity Impairs Beta-Cell Function in Type 2 Diabetes” studies how defects in insulin synthesis and packaging within the pancreatic islet beta-cell contributes to beta-cell dysfunction in Type 2 Diabetes. Small clusters of cells within the pancreas, known as islet beta-cells, regulate blood sugar by controlled release of the hormone insulin. Insulin is made in islet beta-cells where it is packaged into small vesicles and stored until needed. During the course of type 2 diabetes, the islet beta-cells ramp up insulin production to overcome the body’s insulin resistance; however long-term this strategy fails rendering the beta-cell unable to produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar. The reasons for this failure are not known and are the major focus of Stephens’ laboratory. To study this process, Dr. Sam Stephen’s laboratory will use genetically-encoded biosensors and high resolution microscopes to examine how insulin is synthesized, packaged, and stored inside islet beta-cells and how these processes are altered in diabetes. Furthermore, they will use this powerful technique to decipher how diabetes medications may improve the health of beta-cells in type 2 diabetes. Shortly after receiving this great news, we learnt that Dr. Stephens received a second grant, this time from the American Diabetes Association. Dr. Stephens will use the $354,000 grant from the ADA to study how two proteins that are essential for normal insulin secretion, namely chromogranin B and VGF proteins regulate insulin production and storage in the islet beta-cells. Understanding these processes could unlock new approaches for preserving or reversing abnormal function of pancreatic islet cells in diabetes. Join me in congratulating Dr. Stephens on this double achievement! Related Articles DRC Director's Report - October 2020 Please join us in welcoming Bhagirath Chaurasia, MS, PhD, to the University of Iowa and to the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center. Dr. Chaurasia also joins the Division of Endocrinology from his previous position as Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at the University of Utah. He received his PhD from the University of Cologne in Germany before working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore. DRC Director's Report - May 2020 Diabetes is a disease of uncontrollable high blood glucose. Insulin, the hormone that reduces blood glucose, is secreted from beta cells embedded in the pancreas in structures called islets. Although overnutrition has been blamed for the inability of beta cells to secrete enough insulin in type 2 diabetes, it has remained unclear how overnutrition causes beta cells to fail. This is a critical question to solve in order to develop effective therapy to protect beta cells in conditions of overnutrition and to cure type 2 diabetes. DRC Director's Report - December 2020 Dr. Vitor Lira Associate Professor of Health and Human Physiology and member of the FOEDRC was recently awarded a new grant from the National Institutes of Health in the amount of $563,723. The grant entitled: “Molecular regulation of protein turnover in skeletal muscle” will study an important condition that afflicts many individuals as they age, particularly those with diabetes. Aging-related skeletal muscle atrophy and weakness, also referred to as sarcopenia, affects millions of people contributing to the development of several chronic conditions associated with poor health outcomes, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. Although sarcopenia remains poorly understood and lacks effective therapy, aged muscles manifest a problem of poor protein turnover or recycling which is called proteotoxicity. DRC Director's Report - April 2019 In a recent study done by Wei Bao, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and member of the FOEDRC, his research team found that frequent consumption of fried foods, especially fried chicken and fried fish/shellfish, was associated with a higher risk of death from all causes and cardiovascular disease in women in the United States. Women with at least one serving per week of fried chicken had a 13% higher risk of death from all causes, and a 12% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease, when compared with women with no consumption of fried chicken. DRC Director's Report - July 2020 The greatest risks to long-term health in people with diabetes arise from diabetic complications, particularly cardiovascular disease. However, the mechanisms by which the metabolic changes associated with type 2 diabetes like insulin resistance increases the risk of heart failure are less understood. In a recent publication in JCI Insight, E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, and other members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center in collaboration with other institutions, have uncovered an important molecular link between diabetes and heart failure. DRC Director's Report - August 2020 The prevalence of obesity continues to increase worldwide due to changes in dietary composition including the addition of sweetners to many food products and evolving patterns of eating behaviors. In particular, excessive consumption of sugars has been linked to metabolic diseases such as diabetes, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a liver-derived hormone that signals to the brain to reduce sugar intake, but the mechanism for this effect was unknown. This new study by Ph.D. student Sharon Jensen-Cody and other colleagues in the laboratory of Matt Potthoff, Associate Professor in the Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Center and Department of Pharmacology and Neuroscience discovered that FGF21 signals to specific nerve cells called glutamatergic neurons in the brain to lower sugar intake and sweet-taste preference. Showing 0 Comment Comments are closed.