Scientist's Work with Gene Earns Grant and Journal Cover Feature

Assistant Professor Bangyan Stiles has received a 5-year, $1,417,500 RO1 grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the NIH, for the project titled “The Mechanism of Beta-Cell Regeneration.”
Stiles’s research aims to discover if the regeneration of beta-cells in adult tissue can be induced by manipulating the PTEN gene, which is present in almost all cells of the body. This type of research targets both adults suffering from type 1 diabetes, whose beta-cells no longer regenerate, and adults with type 2 diabetes, who with time lose function in their beta-cells.

“This grant money will allow us to analyze exactly how removing PTEN causes these effects and what molecules are responsible for the changes,” said Stiles.

December 2010 cover of the journal Gastroenterology, featuring the research of Bagyan Stiles

“By the end of the five years, we hope to discover the mol- ecules that control the aging of beta-cells,” explained Stiles. “In the long term, this research can be used to develop drugs that can target these molecules to induce beta-cell growth, which would in effect cure both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.”

In addition to the grant, Stiles was honored with a cover feature on the December issue of Gastroenterology, the official journal of the AGA Institute. Stiles’s article, “Expansion of Hepatic Tumor Progenitor Cells in Pten-Null Mice Requires Liver Injury and Is Reversed by Loss of AKT2,” examines PTEN’s role as a tumor suppressant.

(Posted January 2011)