The role of Immune cell-microbial interactions for long-term islet function and glucose homeostasis
Would you like to describe the project in short?
"We have found that in contrast to in adults, the pancreas of newborn mice and humans are densely packed with immune cells of a certain kind, namely macrophages. In this project, we investigate the role of these macrophages for islet maturation and regulation of blood glucose. More specifically, we will study if and how infections in newborn mice will predispose the individual to develop diabetes by impairing the islet-maturation function of the pancreas macrophages, and how this can be counteracted."
What are the cross-disciplinary aspects of this project?
"This is a collaboration between Uppsala University and the Swedish Agricultural University that allows the combination of deep knowledge within immune cells and pancreatic islet physiology with tools for genetic modification of certain probiotic bacteria."
How was the project and collaboration born?
"By our coincidental findings of the high level of immune cells in the pancreas of newborns, and by pilot experiments demonstrating that this is important for long term function. We also have previous knowledge on how to influence the intestinal barrier by probiotic bacteria, and have together designed a genetic modified probiotic bacteria, L Reuteri, for the treatment of wounds in skin and mucosa. The latter is now transferred to Ilya Pharma, a spin-off company where Roos and I are co-founders and inventors, to be developed as drug candidate."
How can UDC be of help in your research?
"We anticipate that the PhD student will be part of a diabetes community and will thereby participate in symposia, and present and defend the project to a larger network of researchers within the field, which is crucial for the training of junior researchers."
What can UDC do to make the PhD students feel like they belong to the centre?
"Arrange activities targeting the PhD student and the post doc community, and invite the PhD students to influence the program of these activities."
Which UDC activities will be meaningful for this project?
"Symposia and seminar series with invited international experts and all those that are part of UDC. "