In humans, beta cells regulate blood glucose by secreting insulin. According to the current state of knowledge, defects of the beta cells in the pancreas contribute significantly to the development and onset of diabetes.
Research activities at the new institute, which is to open on July 16, 2013, will focus on the study of beta cells. The Institute for Beta Cell Biology evolved from the Paul Langerhans Group for Beta Cell Biology. Along with the Institute for Clinical Diabetology, the Institute for Biochemistry and Pathobiochemistry and the Institute for Biometry and Epidemiology, it shall strengthen the DDZ as interdisciplinary research institution within the DZD.
The opening event will take place in the presence of the rector of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Prof. Dr. Dr. H. Michael Piper. Prof. Dr. Michael Roden, the scientific director of the DDZ and member of the board of the DZD shall give the welcoming address. Further addresses of greeting will be given by the Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Prof. Dr. Christel Marian, and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Prof. Dr. Joachim Windolf. Prof. Dr. Eckhard Lammert will present the orientation of the new institute and its potential relevance for persons with diabetes.
Professor Lammert (42) is a biochemist and has headed the Institute of Metabolic Physiology at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences of Heinrich Heine University (HHU) since 2008. Since January 2012 he has been working as research group leader of the Paul Langerhans Group for Beta Cell Biology at the DDZ. Until 2008 the internationally renowned biochemist was a researcher at Harvard University and later at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. “For me it is a personal objective to find out more about beta cells,” said Lammert, who has had type 1 diabetes for 25 years. Beta cells are severely dysfunctional in type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Defects of the beta cells play a key role in the pathogenesis of this common disease.