< Back to previous page


Medical Biochemistry


Lifecycle:17 Oct 2006 →  Today
Organisation profile:

Diabetes mellitus is in many cases a disease state of the pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells, which are either destroyed by an auto-immune assault (type 1 diabetes) or fail to produce and secrete sufficient amounts of insulin under different physiological conditions (type 2 diabetes). Reseach performed within the VUB-unit BIOV is situated within the Diabetes Research Centre (DRC) and has as general aim to better understand how normal beta cells work and how these cells fail during the development of diabetes. Two different aspects of this problem are studied. First, the research unit 'Molecular Pharmacolgy' within BIOV (spokesman F. Schuit) is interested in the molecular mechanisms by which normal beta cells are regulated in their secretory action. We focus on nutrients (glucose) and neutrotransmitters or hormones (glucagon, GLP-1, GIP) or pharmacological tools which mimck or counteract these natural substances. We presently study the signaling pathways of nutrients, and agents which raise cyclic AMP and focus on gene-expression networks that mediate beta-cell regulatory steps. A second part of the BIOV team (Spokesman: Bart Van der Auwera) studies the genetic factors associated with beta cell destruction and development of type I diabetes. This investigation is situated within the framework of the Belgian Diabetes Registry.

Disciplines:Biological sciences