UCSD team receives $9 million grant for diabetes research

SAN DIEGO — UC San Diego announced Tuesday it received roughly $9 million in grants for a pair of research projects that will attempt to identify the cellular actions that lead to the development of Type 1 Diabetes.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, awarded grants of $3.8 million and $5.1 million to the projects that will study pancreatic beta cells, which produce insulin and lead to the development of diabetes when damaged.

A research team led by Dr. Maike Sander and Kyle Gaulton, two professors in the UCSD School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, will use the $3.8 million grant to analyze the genes associated with elevated genetic risk for Type 1 Diabetes and beta-cell functions by using a “reference map” of pancreatic cells.

The research team will then use CRISPR gene editing to determine which genes lead to cell survival or death and test that information on a pancreatic organoid, which is being developed with the $5.1 million grant from stem cells from people with type 1 diabetes.

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