Nutrigenomics and Type 2 Diabetes

  • Functional characterization of diabetes risk genes: The function of many diabetes risk genes is as yet unknown. In this project, we focus on analysis of risk genes which presumably possess peripheral function independent of beta-cells. A better understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms may yield novel targets for the development of therapeutic strategies.

  • Gene-nutrition interaction: Newly identified risk gene variants will be analyzed for their relevance in humans in this project. Completely genotyped and deeply phenotyped probands are given standardized meals (e.g. high fat or ‘Western diet’ or healthy meal, dependent on the function of the gene variant in question). Blood samples are taken repeatedly and analyzed in detail. The results will show whether carriers of specific alleles exhibit distinct irregularities, thus indicating the potential relevance of the gene variant.
  • Identification of novel biomarkers for early detection and intervention in risk persons: For the purpose of early diagnosis and risk prediction, novel markers in human blood are currently identified in ongoing studies. The study will be extended via metabolomics analyses carried out at HMGU.

  • Targeted nutritional intervention in risk persons: Depending on results obtained from above-mentioned projects, human intervention studies will be initiated so as to translate basic knowledge into application. Aim is to test novel concepts for intervention and prevention in suitable and deeply phenotyped persons under standardized conditions, and ultimately in ‘real life’.