Biology professor receives grant to study diabetes


Dr. Marianna Sadagurski, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Wayne State, has received a prestigious Junior Faculty Development Award from the American Diabetes Association. This award supports early investigators establishing their independence as diabetes researchers. Her research focuses on brain systems that link hormonal regulation with glucose control. The studies will be conducted in the context of diabetes and obesity.

The study aims to investigate how the brain communicates with the liver, to regulate glucose metabolism. Regulating glucose metabolism is a critical factor in preventing and treating diabetes. “With diabetes reaching epidemic proportions, there is hardly any person who does not know somebody in their immediate environment who has diabetes,” says Sadagurski.

As a result of being aware of the epidemic, she has always focused her research on understanding the main causes for obesity and type 2 diabetes. “My career goal has been directed towards finding new strategies to treat the disease,” Sadagurski says.

According to Sadagurski, current understanding of the brain processes that regulate glucose metabolism is limited. Her lab has identified a unique group of growth hormone receptor neurons that regulate blood glucose homeostasis, suggesting these neurons might be crucial for growth hormones’ anti-diabetic action. Her project aims to determine the role of these growth hormone receptor neurons in the brain that control glucose metabolism and therefore provide critical insight into growth hormone therapy as a treatment for type 2 diabetes.

The award is for $600,000 over the course of four years. “The ADA junior faculty award is extremely important to me, as this is my first faculty funding since I moved to WSU and also because it highlights diabetes research at WSU,” says Sadagurski.

For more information on Dr. Sadagurski's research, visit her lab's website.

Written by Alexandra Leroux, Marketing and Communications Associate

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