The Banerjee laboratory is studying how hormones regulate metabolism; we use the pancreatic beta-cell as our model system. These amazing cells sense and integrate inputs from numerous hormones and metabolites to regulate secretion of hormones, most notably insulin, that in turn regulate metabolism in many tissues. Beta-cell failure underlies the development of diabetes mellitus.
Our work has demonstrated a critical role for prolactin receptor (PRLR) and lactogen signaling in the beta-cell adaptations required to maintain euglycemia during pregnancy. Defective PRLR signaling in mice results in gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
We are currently investigating targets of PRLR signaling responsible for maternal adaptation of beta-cells during pregnancy, and how these pathways may be deranged in GDM. Additionally, we are interested in molecular mechanisms underlying the regression of expanded gestational beta-cell mass towards pre-pregnancy levels in the postpartum following parturition.
To address these questions, we are applying cutting-edge techniques in molecular and cellular biology, genetics and developmental biology. Our ultimate goal is to use information from our studies to identify pathways and targets that can be used to develop new therapies for diabetes in humans.