I am interested in the patterns of gene expression underpinning healthy pancreatic beta cell function. As the body’s sole source of circulating insulin, beta cells are essential for normal regulation of blood glucose, and their failure is the main cause of Type 2 Diabetes.
In recent years it has become apparent that the genome encodes thousands of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA). lncRNAs are expressed in a highly cell-type specific manner and are capable of regulating gene expression through multiple mechanisms. I am currently investigating how lncRNAs contribute to the healthy beta cell phenotype, and the mechanisms through which they function. I am also interested in whether lncRNAs can be manipulated to reinforce beta cell identity which is challenged during diabetes progression.
My research is funded by a Non-clinical Fellowship from the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation.
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