Two Pharmacology Faculty receive FOEDRC Awards

Drs. Dawn Quelle, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Pathology and Yuriy Usachev, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Anesthesia each received a Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center award to conduct their research.

Dr. Quelle's project, entitled "Role of Parf-1A in diabetes and obesity," tests if a novel protein, Partner of ARF isoform 1A (Parf-1A), is an essential positive regulator of pancreatic beta cell proliferation. Loss of beta cell proliferation is a primary cause of diabetes, both type 1 and type 2. Our preliminary findings show that Parf-1A expression is highly concentrated in islet beta cells, its expression is required for the growth of cultured pancreatic neuroendocrine cells, and it inhibits a protein (named ARF) that normally restricts beta cell proliferation and promotes diabetes. The major goal of this study is to generate a knockout mouse that specifically lacks Parf-1A in beta cells. We predict its loss will impair beta cell growth, induce hypoinsulinemia and alter glucose metabolism, thereby resulting in diabetes and obesity.

Dr. Yuriy Usachev’s project entitled: “Targeting mitochondrial fission and fusion (MFF) for neuroprotection in peripheral diabetic neuropathy (PDN)” to examine the role of mitochondrial restructuring in pathogenesis of PDN and to explore the potential of phosphorylation-dependent miochondrial elongation in protecting peripheral axons from degeneration in diabetes.

More complete descriptions of their projects can be found at