Maike Sander Receives Grant from JDRF to Study Beta-Cell Proteome

The PDRC is delighted to announce that Professor Maike Sander has been awarded a two-year grant from JDRF for her project The proteome of beta-cell replication. During the course of the project, Dr. Sander's lab will try to learn more about the specific factors that prompt insulin-producing beta-cells to increase in number.

Along with many other researchers at the PDRC and the scientific community in general, Dr. Sander's lab wants to find ways to create bigger supplies of viable beta-cells, with the ultimate goal of transplanting new beta-cells or inducing their growth in patients living with type 1 diabetes.

In this project, Dr. Sander's lab will analyze beta-cells during the stage of development where they continue to divide to catalog all the proteins in the cell. (Like making a list of ingredients for a beta-cell recipe.) This sounds simple, but measuring, quantifying, and comparing proteins has proved challenging. Dr. Sander's lab will be collaborating with Dr. John Yates at The Scripps Institute who has developed a novel technology for comparing protein amounts between dividing and non-dividing beta cells in mice.

The project will test which of the identified proteins can stimulate or inhibit the replication of human beta-cells. The hope is to identify drugs that interact with the proteins to make beta-cells grow, restoring the body's ability to produce its own insulin.