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UMass Consortium awarded $300,000 from Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Iacocca Foundation

WORCESTER, Mass.Investigators from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) will investigate the causes of type 1 diabetes with dual grants from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and The Iacocca Foundation. The grants, of $150,000 each, will support the research efforts of the UMMS Heat Shock Protein Consortium. Directed by Aldo A. Rossini, MD, the William and Doris Krupp Professor of Medicine and professor of medicine and molecular medicine, the Heat Shock Protein Consortium brings together a unique group of scientists with diverse expertise in the basic sciences.

The innovation and synergy of the Consortium has already provided a mechanism for interaction and productivity in the field of science, explained Dr. Rossini. This synergy, we believe, will permit a new area of discovery by bringing together viewpoints of basic cell biology that are now focusing on the understanding of the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes.

Heat shock proteins (Hsp) are essential proteins that protect the cell from a wide variety of environmental stresses. However, recent studies have demonstrated that altered Hsp function is associated with the development of a number of diseases, including type 1 diabetes. This funding will provide support for a number of innovative studies across a variety of departments and disciplines that aim to understand the Hsp abnormalities that may lead to the development and progression of type 1 diabetes.

We are committed to supporting young investigators in their development into diabetes-related careers and this important funding will foster creative approaches to the question of the role of cellular stress and autoimmune diabetes, explained Consortium investigator Dale L. Greiner, PhD, professor of medicine.

Better understanding the pathogenesis of diabetes will help accelerate the pace of science leading to cures and treatments for type 1 diabetes and its complications across a range of research areas, said Richard A. Insel, MD, Executive Vice President for Research at JDRF. Were thrilled to be partnering with The Iacocca Foundation to fund this important science at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Specific laboratories and their respective projects supported by the grants include:

  • Rita Bortell, PhD, associate professor of medicineThe role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in immune cell functions and during pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes
  • Stephen J. Doxsey, PhD, professor of molecular medicine, biochemistry & molecular pharmacology and cell biologyThe novel role of centrosome proteins in insulin secretion and cellular stress
  • Dale L. Greiner, PhD, professor of medicineThe role of ER stress in islet transplantation
  • Gregory J. Pazour, PhD, associate professor of molecular medicineThe role of the pancreatic beta cell cilium in diabetes
  • Fumihiko Urano, MD, assistant professor of molecular medicineThe role of ER stress in autoimmune diabetes

Were excited about this partnership, said Iaccoca Foundation Executive Director Dana Ball. Our mission is to explore every possible avenue to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and we see incredible promise in the innovative approach UMass is taking.


Contact: Kelly Bishop
University of Massachusetts Medical School

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