Dr. Ajay ChawlaAmerican Diabetes Association-funded Researcher
Like many individuals, type 2 diabetes personally affects members of my family and friends. This has prompted me to focus my research efforts on understanding the cellular and molecular connections between low-grade chronic inflammation, obesity and insulin resistance.
Specifically, we focus on applying basic macrophage biology to this debilitating chronic disease. Microphages are white blood cells that play a key role in the immune response by ingesting foreign invaders. My lab over the last few years has focused on highlighting the regulatory processes that are shared between metabolism and inflammation (an immune response).
With the help of my Basic Science award from the American Diabetes Association, we will now apply our knowledge in this area to type 2 diabetes. This will be accomplished by generating animals that have deliberately altered genes to express their macrophages skewed towards the less inflammatory axis. Then the mice are studied to determine their susceptibility to diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance.
Simply put, without the American Diabetes Association award, we would not be able to carry out these exciting studies or develop a new direction that can be supported by the National Institutes of Health. This new knowledge will facilitate the development of therapies that specifically target recruited macrophages to treat the underlying inflammation and insulin resistance in patients with type 2 diabetes.