Investigating the functional roles of CTSH and PGM1 in beta-cells during autoimmune diabetes development

Project: Research project

Project Details


Project Summary / Abstract This K01 award will allow Dr. Yi (Jody) Ye-Miller to advance her independent research career in the field of type 1 diabetes (T1D). Dr. Ye’s overarching career goal is to understand the pathogenic mechanisms behind the genetic and environmental influence of pancreatic beta-cells in T1D and to identify targeted pathways to improve beta-cell function. The proposed project is carefully conceived, based on Dr.Ye’s previous work and trains her to use novel models as well as cutting-edge technologies to study the mechanisms underlying T1D. It is a timely opportunity and excellent training vehicle to enable an extremely talented young scientist to achieve her career independence. The Albert Einstein College of Medicine is a national leader in medical education, research, and health care. The institution and Dr. Ye’s mentors will provide a supportive environment with all the necessary equipment and facilities, as well as many learning opportunities and guidance for her professional development. T1D affects 5% of the U.S. population with increasing prevalence in recent decades, especially among young children. Current therapies are unable to provide long-lasting effects to improve beta cell function. The etiology of T1D has both genetic and environmental components, but our understanding of the underlying mechanisms is incomplete, hindering the development of novel therapies. In Dr. Ye’s previous postdoctoral trainings, she identified two T1D loci, CTSH and PGM1, which showed evidence of genetic and environmental influence. Both CTSH and PGM1 are expressed in pancreatic beta-cells. Her observations led to the hypothesis that genetic and/or environment factors influence CTSH and PGM1 transcription and translation, which alter the function and stress-response of beta-cells that consequently trigger T1D. In this project, Dr. Ye will use CRISPR-Cas9 technology to modify the expression of CTSH and PGM1 in human embryonic stem cells. Edited stem cells will subsequently be differentiated into pancreatic beta-cells in vitro. Dr. Ye will investigate the effect of CTSH and PGM1 on beta-cell function with and without an environmental stimulus such as viral infection. In addition, Dr. Ye will use a transgenic mouse model to investigate whether CTSH or its related pathways can be targeted to prevent or slow autoimmune diabetes development. CTSH and PGM1 are T1D associated genes, but their beta-cells specific effects have not been thoroughly studied. The proposed experiments are innovative and original. In a short term, funding will allow Dr. Ye to establish her career independence in the field of T1D. In a long run, these studies will unravel the pathogenic mechanisms associated with CTSH and PGM1 loci, allowing the development of new therapies to treat T1D in humans.
Effective start/end date2/1/221/31/25


  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: $153,360.00
  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: $154,860.00


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