FiDiPro professor Manuel Tena-Sempere, University of Turku, Faculty of Medicine / Institute of Biomedicine, was awarded a prestigious 3-year grant of 3 million DKK from the Novo Nordisk foundation, committee on endocrinology and metabolism, which supports biomedical research in all Nordic countries.
The project run by Prof. Tena-Sempere and Adj. Prof. Suvi Ruohonen will apply functional genomics to dissect out the role of kisspeptins in the control of body energy and glucose homeostasis. As the prevalence of obesity and metabolic diseases is escalating worldwide, this urges for a better under-standing of the pathogenic basis of metabolic disorders, some of which are linked to reproductive alterations. Kisspeptins, the products of Kiss1 gene, are key elements in the control of reproduction; a function conducted mainly by populations of hypothalamic Kiss1 neurons, the most prominent being located in the arcuate nucleus (ARC). Kiss1 neurons in the ARC are sensitive to body energy status and may function as transducers for the regulatory actions of metabolic signals on puberty and fertility. Novel mouse lines, recently generated by TCDM, that enable conditional ablation of Kiss1 in the ARC, the liver or adipose, will be used, and studies will also include pharmacological administration of kisspeptin, and Kiss1 expression analyses in clinical liver and adipose samples. The data will help to define the contribution of kisspeptins to metabolic alterations linked to prevalent conditions, as obesity, and may set the basis of novel therapies for metabolic and reproductive diseases.
TCDM coordinator of Intestinal Diseases Unit, Diana Toivola, received Finnish Academy funding to investigate how keratins help maintaining intestinal health and protect from diseases, and how they can be used to model intestinal inflammation and colorectal cancer. Congratulations!
TCDM coordinators Anne Roivainen and Eriika Savontaus were successful in Finnish Academy Health from Science (TERVA) programme call. TERVA programme is aimed at encouraging Finnish researchers to seek bold, new research initiatives that can solve health issues related to major public health diseases.
TCDM coordinator of Animal Imaging, professor Anne Roivainen is part of “Reprogramming of macrophage phenotypes as early predictor of cardiovascular and metabolic disease development (MAP-CAD)” consortium, which will explore early predictors of cardiovascular and metabolic disease development. The consortium will combine state-of-the-art imaging, genomics and multiscale analysis approaches to develop tools to trace macrophage phenotypes, which could be highly valuable for disease prediction. Prof. Roivainen is developing new imaging agents for quantification of macrophage subpopulations by whole-body positron emission tomography (PET).
TCDM coordinator of Nutrition and Metabolism, Assistant professor Eriika Savontaus is part of “Better health for the next generations: Prevention of metabolic diseases by protecting the male germline epigenome (PROGERM)” consortium, which will explore the epigenetic mechanisms that transfer the metabolic diseases of the father to their children and weather treatment of the father before conception will prevent the metabolic diseases in the next generation. The project will use the TCDM expertise in mouse models of obesity and reproductive biology that will be combined to expertise in spermatogenesis and sperm epigenetics, and with sample collections in large well-defined epidemiological cohorts.
The Director of the TCDM, Matti Poutanen, renewed his Prostate cancer research grant from Cancer Foundation. The Poutanen research group works at identifying the mechanisms of local synthesis of bioactive androgens in prostate cancer, and defining the prognostic significance of novel androgenic ligand profiles. Congratulations!
Academy lecturer Diana Toivola, Åbo Akademi University, Faculty of Science and Engineering/Department of Cell Biology, was awarded a prestigious 3-year grant of 3 million DKK from the Novo Nordisk foundation, committee on endocrinology and metabolism, which supports biomedical research in all Nordic countries.
The aim of the basic science research is to find new molecular mechanisms important for beta cell health in the endocrine pancreas. Beta cells are vital to the body by producing the hormone insulin, which is required for the absorption of nutrients in the form of glucose to tissues. When blood glucose levels rise, for example after a meal, beta cells are stimulated to produce insulin. In patients with diabetes mellitus, a disease with a very high prevalence in Finland, beta cells are destroyed, leading to a decreased insulin production and uncontrolled blood glucose levels. In this research project, the research group will investigate how stress-protective proteins, keratins, maintain beta-cell health with special focus on glucose-stimulated production, transport and secretion of insulin.
Petteri Rinne started as a coordinator of Cardiovascular research unit. He did his PhD at the Department of Pharmacology, Drug Development and Therapeutics in 2013. After doing postdoctoral research in Munich, Germany, he has returned to Turku and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Turku Collegium for Science and Medicine. His current research projects focus on the role of melanocortin and endocannabinoid signalling in cardiovascular diseases. In particular, the research aims at evaluating the therapeutic potential of targeting these systems for the management of atherosclerosis and heart failure.
The authors (Aittokallio, Scherer, Poutanen, Freedman) within the article (http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/389/eaal4101.short ) emphasize the importance of applying better baseline stratification factors during the preclinical studies to improve the fitness and quality of the models and their translatability to clinical trials. Tools for improving the analyses have also been recently developed by TCDM (https://biomedportal.utu.fi/utu-apps/Rvivo/ ), and scientists are encouraged to apply these tools to further improve the quality of their studies.
At TCDM we are continuously searching solutions for the problems faced by endometriosis patients, physicians and researchers. We are searching for new treatment strategies, aims to improve diagnostics and developing new preclinical models for the disease, e.g. by using patient derived cell lines. Active research over 10 years have resulted in more than 10 scientific publications.
11th Disease Modeling symposium, Cancer and Metabolism, was organized December 13 -14, 2016. The symposium focused on specific aspects of studying cancer and metabolism.
The Director of the TCDM, Matti Poutanen, and the Coordinator/PI of Intestinal Diseases Unit, Diana Toivola, renewed their Endocrinological Research Grants from Novo Nordisk Foundation. Congratulations!
FLIR T620 Infrared Camera has been purchased by the Institute of Biomedicine, the University of Turku. The camera is suitable for thermal imaging of experimental animals, and allows measuring eg. brown adipose tissue temperature in awake, freely moving animals. The camera and imaging service is available in Nutrition and Metabolism Unit.
CASA – computer assisted sperm analyzer, CEROS II from Hamilton Thorne has been purchased by the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Turku. Detailed sperm analysis include: sperm counts and concentrations, motility, velocity and kinematic measures. Analyses are now available in Reproductive Biology Unit.
TCDM has generated the first knock-out mouse models using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Service is now available for generation of genetically modified mouse models. See more from our web pages.
The Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Turku has purchased a Faxitron MultiRad 350 irradiator, for biological material. The instrument is a fully-shielded, self-contained X-ray irradiator which is a safer alternative to radioisotope irradiators. The device is the first of its kind in Nordic countries, and it will be used for irradiating various biological materials such as cells and small experimental animals.
The Director of the TCDM, Matti Poutanen, and the Coordinator/PI of Intestinal Diseases Unit, Diana Toivola, were granted by Novo Nordisk Foundation from Endocrinological Research Grants. Congratulations!