The University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute’s (UPDI) research into metabolic syndrome looks to causes and identifying biochemical drug targets. Metabolic syndrome comprises a clustering of risk factors, including obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia/steatosis, inflammation, hypertension, and altered thrombotic status that dramatically increase the risk of developing diabetes and coronary vascular disease. A major focus of the research in the lab of Robert O’Doherty, PhD, is determining the mechanisms that link hepatic steatosis and insulin resistance and the role of increased activity of the innate immune system/inflammatory pathways in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance.
The development of therapies to preserve and regenerate endogenous beta cell mass and function holds great promise and potential for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The translational goals of our research in the lab of Rupangi Vasavada, PhD are to improve islet transplant outcomes and to induce beta cell regeneration in rodents, in vivo, either through the use of growth factors or downstream target molecules activated by these factors. Currently, UPDI has identified signaling and molecular pathways through which specific factors enhance beta cell proliferation, survival and function and has shown that these approaches can enhance human beta cell growth and beta cell function.
Learn more about our latest beta cell research accomplishments.