Project: Regulation of β-cell function and viability in relation to type 2 diabetes pathogenesis: molecular mechanisms
Mentor (Advisor): RNDr. Vlasta Němcová, PhD.
Department: Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology
Contact information: Email: vlasta.nemcova@lf3.cuni.cz

Project Narrative: Dysfunction and apoptosis of pancreatic β-cells are key factors contributing to type 2 diabetes development. Pancreatic β-cells do not profit from the Western lifestyle, particularly low physical activity combined with an unhealthy diet (e.g., chronically increased intake of fatty acids, especially the saturated species). Some diabetes-associated pathological states (e.g., sleep apnea leading to chronic hypoxia in the pancreas) also negatively affect β-cells. The exact molecular mechanisms by which these and other diabetes-related factors affect βcell function and viability are not yet revealed, despite clear medical implications in diabetes prevention and therapy. The aim of the project is to contribute to the elucidation and understanding of these mechanisms.

Methods of cell and molecular biology (Western blot, FACS, confocal microscopy, siRNA, CRISPR, etc.) will be employed to study the involvement of, e.g., miRNAs, various signaling pathways, autophagy and alternative cell death pathways (e.g., ferroptosis, necroptosis). As an experimental model, human and animal β-cell lines will be used. Alternatively, key results will be verified on isolated Langerhans islets.

Requirements for student applicants: We are looking for a motivated and creative Ph.D. student interested in biomedical research and cell and molecular biology. Enthusiasm and an
active approach to solving the topic are expected. The workplace is able to provide an increase in regular stipends. We offer work on a scientifically attractive topic under the guidance of experienced
laboratory staff, support in career development, the opportunity to present results at foreign conferences, and implement foreign internships.