Discovery of new proteins that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
Number of Master Places Available
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof Matthew Watt Personal web page

Summary Our innovative research program seeks to identify how defects of lipid metabolism and inter-tissue communication cause obesity-related disorders, including type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We use this information to discover novel targets that can be transitioned to clinical therapeutics. Our research themes are: 1. Understanding how insulin resistance develops in obesity. 2. Understanding how proteins that are secreted by NAFLD / non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) liver affect metabolism and contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes. 3. Regulation of lipid metabolism: identifying novel proteins that control lipid metabolism and how they are altered in metabolic diseases (e.g. diabetes, cancer).

Project Details

A major goal of our research program is to understand how obesity changes liver function and how this contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes. An excessive accumulation of fat in the liver is known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and occurs in 70% of obese individuals, with up to 30% of those individuals progressing to the more severe disease state known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). We aim to understand how proteins termed 'hepatokines' that are secreted by the NAFLD/NASH liver affect metabolism in tissues of the body, and how this contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes. 
We have previously used a high-throughput screen to identify several proteins whose secretion is increased in NAFLD and NASH and we now aim to determine whether these proteins affect (1) glucose metabolism and blood glucose control, (2) insulin sensitivity and (3) lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle, liver, adipose tissue and the pancreas. In this project, you will evaluate the effects of newly identified hepatokines on muscle, liver and fat cell metabolism and extend these studies to mouse models of pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.

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