Dr. Essam Abdelalim's Group

Dr. Essam Abdelalim's group at QBRI focuses on using pluripotent stem cells, including induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to investigate the molecular mechanisms underling Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), insulin resistance, and pancreatic beta cell differentiation. T2D has a strong genetic component and mainly occurs as a result of a defect in pancreatic β cells to secrete enough insulin and/or the inability of target tissue(s) to respond appropriately to insulin (insulin resistance). It is one of the greatest health challenges facing Qatar and the world today. Therefore, the current projects aim to generate patient-specific iPSCs from Qatari patients suffering from insulin resistance and T2D to establish in vitro models of the diseases. Dr. Abdelalim and his team use patient derived cells (from the blood or skin biopsy of Qatari diabetic patients) and convert them to iPSCs, which have the ability to differentiate into all cell types. Patient specific-hiPSCs are then differentiated into functional pancreatic beta cells as well as other cell types that are relevant to insulin resistance and T2D. Those cells will be used as tools to investigate mechanisms and pathways implicated in the pathogenesis of specific forms of T2D and insulin resistance and to screen novel drugs and therapies for the treatment of T2D.

Diabetes iPSC production
Stem Cell Project

Dr. Essam Abdelalim's Team



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