May 04, 2023

Ramanadham secures two JDFR grants for T1D research

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Dr. Sasanka RamanadhamOver one million Americans are living with Type 1 diabetes (T1D). According to Beyond Type 1, the number of those with T1D is steadily climbing at 2.9% per year, versus the population growth of 0.8% per year.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDFR) has awarded Sasanka Ramanadham, Ph.D., professor in the UAB Department of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology (CDIB) and member of the UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center (UCDC), two grants to study Type 1 diabetes.

Ramanadham successfully competed for the Innovative Awards category. Through this award, the JDRF notes that it provides seed funding for highly innovative, high risk/high reward research with significant potential to accelerate the mission of JDRF.

Ramanadham and his lab’s project is titled “Exploiting CRISPR Strategy to Modify T-Cell Lipid Signaling and Mitigate T1D Development.”

According to Ramanadham, the goal of this project is to develop and establish approaches to modify select lipid signaling in T-cells using the CRISPR-Cas9 approach, in the context of immunotherapy to counter T1D development.

For several years, Ramanadham’s lab has been interested in and explored how lipid mediators and biomarkers are associated with Type 1 diabetes development.

In addition to the Innovative Award, Ramanadham also competed successfully in the category of Realignment of Established Targets and Mechanisms for Delaying or Reversing T1D.

The Ramanadham lab project that received this award is titled “Targeting Prostaglandin F-series Lipids to Counter Beta-Cell-Death and T1D Development.” Ramanadham notes that the goal of this project is to use advanced CRISPR-Cas9 approaches to modify select lipid signaling in vivo to counter T1D development.

Ramanadham is looking forward to diving deeper into studying how lipid signaling could be altered to counter the development of T1D.

“Lipid signaling is still a somewhat unexplored territory of T1D research,” said Ramanadham. “My lab in the CDIB/UCDC is thrilled to continue to investigate the potential that targeting lipids or modifying their signaling might have on the development of the disease. Our hope is that it shows delayed or no progression at all.”

Ramanadham’s lab is situated in the UCDC, which is a center of over 200+ researchers from across UAB dedicated to diabetes research. The center aims to improve the lives of those affected by diabetes in Alabama and beyond.