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Women in Science: MD/PhD candidate Rachel Stamateris focused on novel diabetes approach

By Megan Bard

UMass Medical School Communications

February 08, 2019

The Women in Science video series on UMassMedNow highlights the many areas of research conducted by women at UMass Medical School.

As the diabetes epidemic continues to grow, researchers are redoubling their efforts to understand the mechanisms that cause the disease. MD/PhD candidate Rachel Stamateris is hoping to contribute to that understanding through her PhD research.

“I was attracted to diabetes research because it’s such a wide-spread problem that just keeps getting worse,” said Stamateris, who is studying in the lab of Laura Alonso, MD, the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation Term Chair in Diabetes and associate professor of medicine.

The Alonso lab is focused on finding ways to increase the number of insulin-producing beta cells, toward treatment and prevention of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

For her project, Stamateris is working to understand how the protein CDK4, which promotes cell-cycle division, is able to rescue an animal model of diabetes. Her immediate goal is to identify potential novel CDK4 interactions in the beta cell that can promote beta cell differentiation. She has also been awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship for dual-doctoral degree students from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for her work on this project.

“Long term, I would like to somehow find a way to combine both clinical practice and research, potentially in the setting of endocrinology,” said Stamateris.

Learn more about her research in this Women in Science video.

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