With his research project Dr. Poy wants to improve the treatment of diabetes, especially the transplantation of pancreatic islets, and to facilitate the development of therapeutic strategies for this disease. Dr. Poulet, who is located at the excellence cluster NeuroCure and who is financed from the MDC, wants to shed light on the function of specific neurons in the cortex. This part of the brain plays a key role for example in sensory perception, control of movement, memory and attention.
The researcher believes that developing an understanding of how these interactions change during the pathogenesis of disease will provide insight into how islet growth and insulin release is dependent upon signals received from adjacent cell types. With this strategy, emphasis will be placed on genetic mouse models to identify relevant genes that can help improve the transplantation of beta cells.
Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) gives an estimate of more than 220 million people worldwide suffering from this disease. “Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by the deterioration and impaired function of beta cells of the pancreatic islet”, Dr. Poy points out. Beta cells produce the hormone insulin which regulates the blood glucose levels, the body’s main source of energy.
In patients with type 1 diabetes the beta cells have been destroyed due to a misguided response of the immune system, and blood glucose levels are elevated. These patients must self-inject insulin throughout their whole life.
Even in patients with type 2 diabetes, who initially can be treated with a special diet and pills, the beta cells can decline and fail over time, so that these patients, too, must self-inject insulin.
The development of more efficient and accurate insulin replacement therapies, however, has long proved to be a difficult task. This is why physicians have been trying for a long time to transplant intact beta cells or whole pancreas organs, but with little success.
For nearly two years Dr. Poy has been leading a Helmholtz junior research group at MDC, an institution of the Helmholtz Association, and at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. He came from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich. There he was able to show that microRNAs play a crucial role in the regulation of metabolic processes.
Matthew Poy studied biology at the Medical College of Ohio in Toledo, USA, where he also received his PhD in biomedical sciences. Prior to coming to Europe, he was working at Rockefeller University in New York City in the USA.Brain States and Behaviour
It is thought, that changes in brain state are fundamental to normal brain function and neuronal computation. “However, very little is known about the underlying neuronal mechanisms that generate these changes or their precise impact on neuronal processing and behaviour”, Dr. Poulet explains.
Therefore in his new project Dr. Poulet wants to record the activity of neurons in the awake, behaving mouse to investigate the network and cellular mechanisms involved in generating brain state, using high resolution electrophysiology, neural imaging and molecular and behavioural techniques.
In previous work he had already characterized changes in brain state in the mouse during whisker movements, which he will now investigate further. With his research he hopes to be able to open new perspectives in the treatment of neurological diseases such as stroke or epilepsy.
During his PhD the neuroscientist played a key role in detecting a phenomenon researchers call “corollary discharge”. It prevents crickets from deafening themselves while generating extremely loud mating songs.
Furthermore, due to “corollary discharge” it is also impossible to tickle oneself. A corollary discharge is a signal in the brain that filters out the perception of sounds or touch generated by ones own behaviour.
Until the summer of 2009 James Poulet was a postdoc at École Poly-technique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, where he succeeded in recording the intracellular activity of two nerve cells in the cerebral cortex of a conscious, behaving animal for the first time.
Dr. Poulet is originally from London, England. He studied biology at the University of Bristol, went on to graduate studies at the University of Cambridge (UK), where he received his PhD in 2002 and was a postdoc between 2002 and 2005.
Dr. Poy and Dr. Poulet are the second and third recipients of an ERC-grant at the MDC. In 2009, developmental biologist Dr. Francesca Spagnoli, received a one million ERC-grant. The ERC, established in 2007 by the European Commission, is funded through the 7th Research Framework Programme of the European Union.Barbara Bachtler
Tracking down pest control strategies
31.01.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden
Polymers and Fuels from Renewable Resources
29.01.2018 | DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V.
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.02.2018 | Life Sciences