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Dr. John Mordes is Studying Genes to Predict Type 1 Diabetes Susceptibility in a Unique Rat Model of T1D

Date Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2021


John P. Mordes, MD, is a physician-scientist who in addition to caring for patients at UMass Memorial Health, also conducts basic and clinical research at UMass Chan Medical School focused on the genetics and pathophysiology of type 1 diabetes (T1D) using rat models of the disease. 

His latest research, published in Genes, a journal of genetics and genomics, involves the development of a unique rat model which provides new insight as to how T1D may develop in humans. 

Dr. Mordes led a collaborative team of scientists from Drexel University College of Medicine, Maryland’s Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research and Weifang Medical University in China.

Together they studied the relationship between a couple of genes which have previously been determined to increase the likelihood of a person developing T1D.  They also investigated a protein coding gene, that when removed, has prevented diabetes in the rats.

“These data from a rat model illustrate how an insulin peptide, a specific major histocompatibility complex haplotype, and a T cell receptor might combine to cause type 1 diabetes. The results have prompted us to look for similar pairing of TCR and MHC in human genetic datasets,” said Dr. Mordes, a Professor of Medicine at UMass Medical School and Endocrinologist at UMass Memorial Health.

This latest data is the culmination of animal model T1D research that began in 1995 in collaboration with Elizabeth Blankenhorn, PhD, at Drexel University College of Medicine.

View the full publication titled T Cell Receptor Genotype and Ubash3a Determine Susceptibility to Rat Autoimmune Diabetes.”  

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