Robert A. Screaton
Associate Professor, Biochemistry, University of Toronto
Senior Scientist, Biological Sciences, Hurvitz Brain Sciences Research Program Sunnybrook Research Institute
Goal Groups/Integration Themes:
Innovations in T1 Diabetes
Our research focuses on finding cures for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. From a biological perspective, we are interested in understanding how human cells respond to extracellular cues to maintain and ensure their function and survival. A central focus is to better understand how the pancreatic beta cell converts feeding cues into signals leading to insulin synthesis and secretion. We use high-throughput functional genomic imaging screens to identify novel players involved in cell signaling pathways that control human pancreatic beta cell proliferation. In addition, we are interested in the function and quality control of mitochondria, critical subcellular organelles essential for cell function and survival. In addition to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, our work impacts upon cancer and neurodegeneration.
Current work in the lab is directed towards understanding how insulin-producing β cells respond to glucose and cAMP signals and to understand the signaling machinery that regulates β cell proliferation and regeneration. In this regard, we focus on the role of LKB1-AMPK signaling pathway and the CREB coactivator CRTC2. To identify novel gene products and signal transduction mechanisms that are involved in β cell biology, we employ biochemical, cell biological, proteomic and functional genomic approaches, and generate animal models to test the role of these genes in islet function and glucose metabolism in vivo.
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