Can we engineer pancreatic beta cells to function properly and safely increase insulin production for diabetics?

Scottsdale, Arizona
Raised of $4,350 Goal
Ended on 1/02/17
Campaign Ended
  • $119
  • 3%
  • Finished
    on 1/02/17

About This Project

Diabetes is caused by a severe lack of insulin and disfunctioning beta cells. My project proposes a beta cell culture study where I would evaluate the efficacy of mitochondrial-enzyme and nucleotide-specific insulin-building isoforms on NOD (non-obese diabetic), normal, and cancerous mouse cell samples to safely increase insulin production and cell functionality. If the data supports my hypothesis, this project could lead to new forms of genetic therapy for diabetic laboratory studies.

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What is the context of this research?

For the past year, I have been studying the physiology and functionality of beta cells in the pancreas. I read an article on ScienceDaily regarding the growth of diabetes in America. I found that there is no cure for diabetes and that the challenges are with creating normal insulin secretion and beta cell growth. I thought that if it is caused from a severe lack of insulin or severe insulin resistance, then why isn’t there a solution to be able to culture the beta cells with the use of therapeutic measures? With this project, we want to help this problem by directly treating the cells at the root of the problem, the mitochondria. This could be then expanded with tests on human cell lines.

What is the significance of this project?

With around 10% of the United States population having diabetes, ways in fighting against this disease are rising in many laboratories today. Currently, methods including stem cell proliferation, insulin pumps, and other techniques have been used, but have yet to show results that clearly support how one develops the disease or how it could be cured.

One promising strategy would be to go to the cellular level directly and fix the inner processes that define diabetes. If we are to find a cure for diabetes it should be personalized to each patient dependent on their cell rates of division, insulin production, and overall functionality of their beta cells. My project, if successful, can elucidate many these confusions to ultimately help in modern diabetes care.

What are the goals of the project?

The basic goals in my project are for me to evaluate the average rates of division and insulin production in diabetic and non-diabetic unimmortalized growing mouse beta cells. Then, I would convert already present enzymes and nucleotide chains within the mitochondria efficiently-working isoforms with the use of sonication (sound waves that break cell membranes) and glycosylation to extract the DNA and enzymes, and transfection and liposomal treatments to insert back into the cell line samples to see the changes in which the beta cells function. After the tests, I would finally use a flow cytometer to see the cell size and granule levels (to see insulin levels) between the cells and cancerous beta cells as an observable controlling buffer (more information in Methods).


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Dear Science Enthusiast,

By obtaining funds from you to complete my project, I will be able to test a variety of phosphorylating enzymes and combinations of them with a nucleotide chain GTP to, hopefully, create a functioning gene isoform (or simply an efficient protein-building DNA coder) within an anti-cancer medium.

Currently, I have opportunity to work in a microbiology laboratory at the Arizona State University, but lack the funding to be able to pay for the materials or machinery at external sites at ASU and at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

The payment to use the flow cytometer and transfection machine cost 1200 dollars as I would be conducted multiple tests and the average cost per hour in use for each is at around 100-200 dollars.

Because my tests are small scale, my budget is also much smaller than a conventional cell culture test. The funding that you support would allow me to complete my research study greatly and I do appreciate your support.

Endorsed by

I am really excited for this project. I believe it will answer critical questions in this field of diabetes and metabolism.

Meet the Team

Daniel Noon
Daniel Noon
High School Student

Daniel Noon

I am currently a high school student studying in Arizona enthusiastic about modern science and the potential it has for our future. Although I do not have an M.D., Ph.d, or other high achieving status (yet (: ) I have always been interested in this field of medicine and have been trained for it in multiple ways such as through the Cell Culture Basics online course from Gibco Education I have been doing research in the diabetes metabolism field for the past year and wanted to begin a new kind of cell therapy project as explained above and in the Methods category. Currently, I am also involved in a few clinical research projects at the Arizona State University under my mentor, Dr. Gabriel Shaibi.

To be truthful, I feel that I have the ability and know-how to complete this project successfully and this field in diabetes is something that I have been passionate in for a very long time.

Additional Information

Science Daily link:

Project Backers

  • 7Backers
  • 3%Funded
  • $119Total Donations
  • $17.00Average Donation
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