Type 1 diabetes, sometimes called juvenile diabetes, is the second most common chronic childhood disease and is responsible for about 10% of all diabetes cases worldwide. Treatments for Type 1 diabetes are currently limited to supplying insulin orally or through injection.
Kristin and her Broad colleagues began to develop an assay to detect compounds that induce insulin expression in rat pancreatic exocrine tumor cell lines. This assay was composed of two approaches: one to screen for insulin gene expression using quantitative PCR and the other to screen for insulin protein expression using immunofluorescence. They also determined putative positive controls for the gene expression approach of the assay; they hope to use these results to define positive controls in the immunofluorescence portion of the assay, which is best suited to high-throughput screening format. The discovery of compounds that induce differentiation of pancreatic exocrine cells to beta cell-like phenotype could contribute to the search for an in vivo therapy to treat Type 1 diabetes.
This summer at the Broad Institute I had the opportunity to live the life of a full-time research scientist. I had access to top of the line equipment and I had the mentorship of the best minds in the field of genomics. Thanks to my fulfilling summer spent at the Broad Institute, I am more certain than ever that I will pursue a career in research.