Area 3

Pathogenesis and prevention of diabetes

Team leader

  • Anna Novials

Strategic objectives

1. To study metabolic and molecular responses to exercise and nutrition in diabetes.

  • 1a. To investigate metabolomic and lipidomic profiles in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in response to different patterns of exercise.
  • 1b. To understand the mechanisms that control energy metabolism and cellular plasticity of the tissues involved in the control and regulation of glucose homeostasis.

2. To investigate microRNAs as potential biomarkers of certain pathophysiological mechanisms in diabetes.

  • 2a. To identify the changes in patterns of circulating microRNAs in the prediabetic and diabetic populations.
  • 2b. To unravel the role that microRNAs play in intercellular communication in the context of diabetes.

3. To investigate the mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction in diabetes.

  • 3a. To analyse the therapeutic action of GLP- 1 on endothelial cells under conditions of hyperglycaemia and its relationship with oxidative stress.
  • 3b. To investigate the role of different microRNAs in modulating the intracellular antioxidant response of endothelial cells exposed to glucose oscillations.

4. To investigate the mechanisms of beta-cell dysfunction in the search for new therapeutic targets.

  • 4a. To study the effect of human IAPP on ER stress response and apoptosis in pancreatic beta-cells.
  • 4b. To develop new approaches to treating inflammation of the pancreatic islet
  • 4c. To unravel the role of BACE2 enzyme in beta-cell function.
  • 4d. To analyse transcriptional networks and the role of microRNAs under stressful situations in pancreatic beta-cells.
Main lines of research

Bridging basic and clinical research, the team performs studies in both animal models and humans to improve our understanding of diabetes, with the mission of innovating treatment and prevention methods. Our main lines of research are focused on several fields related to diabetes:

  • Prevention and control of diabetes through lifestyle interventions;
  • Epigenetic markers to help predict the development of diabetes and vascular complications;
  • Mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction related to diabetes and vascular complications; and finally,
  • Molecular mechanisms that lead to deterioration of pancreatic beta-cells during the progression of the disease, with the end goal of finding new therapeutic targets.