Dr. Estall’s lab wins an End Diabetes Award

Dr. Estall’s lab wins an End Diabetes Award

The IRCM is pleased to announce that its researcher Dr. Jennifer Estall is one of the winners of Diabetes Canada's 2022 End Diabetes Award. This important research project aims to understand how a human mutation is involved in diabetes and its related complications.

The project, an overview

One’s risk of developing diabetes depends on several factors, including family history (genetics), age, lifestyle and diet. Genetic factors often remain silent until mixed with environmental factors. Many years ago, a mutation in the PGC-1A protein was found linked to higher rates of obesity and diabetes in an isolated population of people. PGC-1A is a protein that controls how your body uses sugar and fat to make energy. Research now shows us that almost 35% of world’s population have this different form of PGC-1A, but it seems to be either beneficial, detrimental, or inconsequential, depending on context. Not only is it linked to diabetes in many people, but there is also evidence that the version of PGC-1A you carry may impact how well you respond to diabetes treatment. 

Not much is known about how the mutation affects the function of PGC-1A or why it is linked to diabetes. Using cell and animal models, combined with studies in humans, Dr. Estall’s team aims to determine how this mutation changes how this protein works and identify situations where having one form or the other is good (or bad). To do this, they are investigating how the different forms of PGC-1A affects how the body burns and stores food energy. They are also looking at whether the variants impact the body’s response to exercise, diet or common treatments for diabetes. This research will help understand how the body tightly controls energy use and storage, and may also help predict how well someone responses to diabetes treatment.

Congratulations, Dr. Estall!

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