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Pancreatic β cell dysfunction and apoptosis are central in the development of diabetes (1). However, the critical pathways involved are poorly understood. Our research interest is to gain further insight into the mechanisms of β cell failure in diabetes and to test novel therapies.
Our group has identified endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitochondrial dysfunction as cellular responses contributing to β cell failure (2-4). Interestingly, dysregulation in these same pathways and organelles cause loss of functional β cell mass in monogenic forms of diabetes (5). These monogenic forms of diabetes are uncommon (less than 5%), but they provide us with important insight into biological pathways that are crucial to maintain β cell function.
In our induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) laboratory, we differentiate diabetic patient-derived stem cells into human pancreatic β cells (6). This powerful tool provides us with a highly relevant disease-in-a-dish model that opens a range of new research avenues and will help us to further understand β cell failure in diabetes.
- Some prior experience in cell culture and cell and molecular biology would be very positive but it is not required
- The candidate will be able to work collaboratively in a team
- High motivation, flexibility as well as curiosity and creative thinking are required
- Excellent skills in spoken and written English