Inhibition of IAPP (Amylin) Toxicity in Type 2 Diabetes

This is a potential Honours or PhD project in the laboratory. There is increasing recognition that the build-up of amyloid may be involved in a large number of chronic degenerative diseases. In type 2 diabetes, the build-up of amylin commonly occurs within pancreatic islets. Although amylin was once thought to be an epiphenomenon of the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), it is increasingly recognised it may have a primary role to play in the disease. Amylin is a type of amyloid composed of islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP). Similar to the case of A&beta in Alzheimer's disease, IAPP can aggregate to form amyloid deposits. This project will test the hypothesis that oligomeric forms IAPP has a primary role to play in the degeneration of pancreatic function in T2DM. The project will examine the molecular mechanisms governing IAPP toxicity.

The student will:

  1. Study the aggregation of IAPP using a biophysical technique know as dynamic light scattering
  2. Examine the ability of low molecular weight glycosaminoglycan (molecules which bind to amyloids) to block IAPP aggregation
  3. Examine the effect of IAPP on insulin secretion and the viability and calcium metabolism of a cultured insulinoma cell line
  4. Test the ability of glycosaminoglycans to block the toxic effects of IAPP on the insulinoma cell line

Related Diseases


Team Leaders

  • Professor David Small (Professorial Fellow)

Team Members

  • Dr Rob Gasperini (Research Fellow)