Navigation Links
1 million euro EU grant for MDC diabetes researcher Dr. Francesca M. Spagnoli
Date:9/21/2009

A European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant worth more than a million euros over the next five years has been awarded to Dr. Francesca M. Spagnoli of the Max Delbrck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch, Germany. For nearly a year Dr. Spagnoli has been leading a Helmholtz junior research group at MDC, an institution of the Helmholtz Association, and at Charit Universittsmedizin Berlin. Together with the biophysicist Dr. Leif Schrder from the Leibniz Institut fr Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP), also on the Berlin-Buch Campus, Dr. Spagnoli belongs to the 240 top scientists the ERC has chosen from more than 2, 500 applicants.

The research project of Dr. Spagnoli will investigate the possibility of reprogramming hepatic cells to pancreas cells so that they can ultimately replace the destroyed pancreatic beta cells and produce the vital hormone insulin in diabetic patients.

Dr. Spagnoli is originally from Italy and has two doctorate degrees, one in medicine and the other in genetics and cell biology. Her major field of interest is stem cell research, and she is currently investigating the embryonic development of beta cells in the Langerhans' islets of the pancreas and also the embryonic development of hepatic cells.

Beta cells produce the hormone insulin which regulates the blood glucose levels, the body's main source of energy. In patients with type 1 diabetes the beta cells have been destroyed due to a misguided response of the immune system, and blood glucose levels are elevated.

These patients must self-inject insulin throughout their whole life. Even in patients with type 2 diabetes, who initially can be treated with a special diet and pills, the beta cells can decline and fail over time, so that these patients, too, must self-inject insulin.

Insulin replacement therapy, however, has adverse side effects. This is why physicians have been trying for a long time to transplant intact beta cells or whole pancreas organs, but with little success. According to Dr. Spagnoli, there are several reasons for this.

One is a shortage of donors; another is that the transplanted organ or cells frequently do not function well. After five years the patients often need a new transplant or have to self-inject insulin again.

The reason why Dr. Spagnoli intends to compare beta cells and hepatic cells is that the pancreas and the liver have a lot in common. "Both organs derive from the same region in the embryo, and both play an important role in metabolism and in blood glucose regulation," she explained. "Moreover, they share a number of genes."

Dr. Spagnoli wants to investigate whether beta cells and hepatic cells arise from a common bipotent progenitor cell. She hopes to identify the molecular signals that determine why one progenitor cell develops into a hepatic cell and another into a beta cell.

"We want to elucidate the factors that determine this difference," she said. Her approach is to start from this interface to see whether it is possible to reprogram adult hepatic cells to pancreatic beta cells so that they are able to produce insulin. By bypassing the use of embryonic stem cells for her investigation, she hopes to shorten and simplify the reprogramming process.

Dr. Spagnoli studied medicine and received her MD at La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, and completed an additional doctorate in genetics and cell biology at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France.

Prior to coming to Berlin in 2008 to conduct her research at MDC, she worked in the laboratory of Professor Ali Hemmati-Brivanlou at Rockefeller University in New York, USA, one of the leading laboratories in the field of stem cell research and developmental biology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Barbara Bachtler
bachtler@mdc-berlin.de
49-309-406-3896
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. 2009 Lasker Awards recognize promise of stem cells -- global market could top $700 million
2. UTSA Physics Department receives $2.7 million to study nanomaterials
3. GATC Biotech AG is investing more than 5 million euros in its Constance site to double the companys floor space
4. UC Riverside research on barley genome gets boost from $1 million USDA grant
5. LSU receives $3.6 million to fund center studying hazardous waste cleanup and health impacts
6. Department of Energy supports carbon sequestration research, University of Miami receives $1.7 million
7. UTSA wins $5 million for new Simulation, Visualization and Real-Time Prediction Center
8. Clemson research nets $2 million from NSF to mimic natures probes
9. UTs Valentin Dragoi gets $1.2 million grant for groundbreaking approach to brain research
10. Iowa State faculty attract $4.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants
11. Key feature of immune system survived in humans, other primates for 60 million years
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
1 million euro EU grant for MDC diabetes researcher Dr. Francesca M. Spagnoli
(Date:4/6/2017)... Forecasts by Product Type (EAC), Biometrics, Card-Based ... & Logistics, Government & Public Sector, Utilities / Energy ... Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, Business Organisation (BFSI), Hospitality & ... for a definitive report on the $27.9bn Access Control ... ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... 3, 2017  Data captured by IsoCode, ... detected a statistically significant association between the ... treatment and objective response of cancer patients ... predict whether cancer patients will respond to ... well as to improve both pre-infusion potency testing ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... The report "Video Surveillance Market ... Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), and Service (VSaaS, ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market was valued ... to reach USD 75.64 Billion by 2022, at a ... year considered for the study is 2016 and the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... Having worked on the ... Formaspace is pleased to introduce it to top lab design architects from around the ... Turk and VP of Industrial Design and Engineering Greg Casey will be at the ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... Frederick Innovative Technology ... of emerging technology-based businesses, recently earned a $77,518 grant from the Rural Maryland ... in 2004, FITCI is Frederick’s first incubator. A non-profit corporation, FITCI is a ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... Husson University will be celebrating ... body of knowledge during its Eighth Annual Research and Scholarship Day ... Atrium. During the event, undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members from all of ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... Bethesda, MD (PRWEB) , ... April 20, 2017 ... ... announce the formation of a unique intellectual property (IP) sharing and commercialization model. ... their most promising inventions. A main component of this effort is bringing the ...
Breaking Biology Technology: