A training program for post-doctoral fellows to develop bioengineering skills and leadership applicable to research into type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
The Georgia Institute of Technology has been awarded $1.2 million by the National Institutes of Health for a training program for post-doctoral fellows to develop bioengineering skills and leadership applicable to research into type 1, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM). The Innovation and Leadership in Engineering Technologies and Therapies (ILET2) for diabetes postdoctoral training grant is a cross-disciplinary training program in cell- and tissue-based therapies and novel insulin delivery technologies.
Ten faculty members from Georgia Tech and Emory University will participate in the program, which is expected to train four postdoctoral fellows per year over a period of five years. Athanassios Sambanis, a professor in the School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech, will direct the effort, which will be administratively supported by the Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience.
“The expertise of Georgia Tech researchers in biomaterials and cell therapies, combined with the clinical expertise of our Emory colleagues, should enable the development of new technologies and solutions to this complex health care problem,” Sambanis said. “As engineers and researchers, it is our job to look at obstacles in new ways and find improved answers.”
IDDM is a health condition affecting millions of people worldwide. The disease often has a much greater impact on a person’s life than the more common, type 2 adult onset form of diabetes because it can begin in childhood. IDDM patients are dependent on a careful diet and insulin to regulate the amount of glucose in their blood. Fluctuations in blood glucose levels put patients at risk of sugar build up, which can affect eye sight, kidneys, and cardiovascular disease; inadvertent reduction in sugar levels could, on the other hand, result in a coma.
Compared to current insulin treatments based on injections or infusion by a pump, new generation therapies have the potential to provide a less invasive and ultimately less costly regulation of blood glucose levels, potentially reducing long-term complications in diabetes care.
“Upon successful completion of the program, the postdoctoral fellows will be prepared to move into leadership positions in industry and academia and develop new, cutting-edge technologies and therapies for diabetics aimed at improving their quality of life and reducing the economic burden on the diabetic population as well as the overall healthcare costs,” Sambanis concluded.