After receiving a London Diabetes UK (DUK) PhD scholarship in 2007, I commenced my doctoral studies in the lab of Dr. Wendy Macfarlane, Reader in the Diabetes Research Group, The Centre for Biomedical & Health Science Research (CBHSR), School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Science, at the University of Brighton, UK. Dr Macfarlane’s work focused primarily on beta (β)-cell function. My project set to identify key genes imperative for β-cell viability, function and apoptosis via a multitude of signaling pathways. The studies revealed that pharmacological interventions with agents such as thiozolidinediones (TZDs), such as Rosiglitazone, used as therapy for type 2 diabetes (T2D), have additional effects to their already established effects of increasing insulin sensitivity thereby lowering circulating blood insulin in peripheral tissues such as muscle and fat. We report that TZDs exert direct protective effects on β-cell viability and function through PPARγ receptor-dependent and independent pathways and can protect cells from fatty-acid induced apoptosis.
I earned my PhD, in October 2011.