Preventing Diabetes by Caring for the Environment

We work to understand how chemical pollutants influence glucose homeostasis. Our ultimate goal is to translate this knowledge into actions to decrease the prevalence of diabetes and related metabolic disorders.

Diabetes mellitus occurs when blood glucose is too high. Glucose rises after meals and provides energy to our cells after being absorbed with the help of insulin, a hormone produced and secreted by the β-cells of the islet of Langerhans located in the pancreas. When β-cells do not produce enough insulin, or insulin signaling is diminished, excessively high blood glucose levels result. To know more about diabetes mellitus visit

The world is facing a diabetes epidemic; 422 million people worldwide suffer from the disease and one person dies every 7 seconds from diabetes and its complications. To decrease these numbers, it is imperative to investigate what factors cause diabetes and to understand how they do so. This would allow us to intervene and prevent its onset.

The probability of becoming diabetic includes individual genetic predisposition and environmental factors that trigger the onset of the disease. Genes cannot be modified, but the environment can, and by changing the environment we can prevent or delay diabetes.

We can define the environment as everything but the genome. It encompasses multiple factors, from nutrition to chemical pollutants. There is a group of chemical pollutants that are especially important in the etiology of diabetes, the so-called endocrine disruptors or endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). To know more about EDCs visit

EDCs are chemicals that mimic, block, or interfere with hormones in the body’s endocrine system. We are exposed to low doses of EDCs on a daily basis. Some EDCs increase the likelihood of diabetes indirectly because they cause obesity, but EDCs also damage β-cells and cause insulin resistance in different tissues. Thus, many EDCs are diabetogenic in their own right. To know more about EDCs and Diabetes Mellitus visit

In our group, we focus on how EDCs modify islet cell function and survival to understand how EDCs influence glucose homeostasis. We translate this knowledge into actions to decrease the prevalence of diabetes and related metabolic disorders.

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