What makes us the way we are? Why are some people predisposed to be overweight? How is it that some of us are prone to Type 2 diabetes?
Research projects in the Alejandro lab are aimed to understand the developmental origins of insulin-producing beta-cell dysfunction and to identify novel endogenous modulators of insulin secretion and plasticity for potential treatment. The lab is invested in understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms linking fetal nutrient environment to the later development of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in adulthood. Identifying modifiable risk factors is key in decreasing the incidence of this disease.The long-term research goal of the Alejandro Lab is to stop the vicious cycle of diabetes by launching a multi-pronged research program.
One of the research objectives of the lab is to understand how placental-insufficiency during pregnancy alters the offspring's beta-cell function and susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes and to identify the mechanistic link between beta-cell programming and sensitivity to cellular stress involving ER stress, oxidative stress, autophagy and mitochondrial stress in chronic hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia conditions. A second major research objective involves studying the roles of (OGT), a nutrient-sensing protein, in beta-cell development, function, and plasticity. A third research aim is to understand how OGT and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (also known as NMDAR) regulates insulin secretion using patch-clamp electrophysiology.
Current Funding: NIDDK K01, R03, R21 and R01.
Biomedical Discovery District