I am a DPhil student, under the supervision of Professor Patrik Rorsman at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM). I am funded by the Radcliffe Department of Medicine Scholars Programme. I am co-supervised by Dr Quan Zhang and Dr Margarita Chibalina.
The main aim of my DPhil has been to investigate the regulation of voltage-gated sodium channels in pancreatic beta-cells. Mouse beta-cells contain a large voltage-gated sodium current (INa). However, it contributes very little to the electrical activity of the cell. This is because it exhibits arcane biophysical properties and it is functionally inactivated at membrane potentials far more negative than those occurring physiologically. By characterising the properties of INa in beta-cells, I aim to gain an insight into the underlying mechanism(s) of channel behaviour in beta-cells that could provide a novel pharmacological mechanism for increasing insulin secretion.
During my DPhil, I have also collaborated in several other projects including the functional translation of the type-2 diabetes risk gene CDKAL1 linked to the transcription factor Sox4, understanding the role of intra-islet dipeptidyl peptidase-IV and the electrophysiological characterisation of the human beta-cell line EndoC-βh1/2.