What We Do
As diabetes researchers we are well aware of the fact that 10.5 percent of the US population has diabetes (2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report). In fact, the prevalence of diabetes keeps rising despite many decades of research looking for cures for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Therefore, new perspectives on developing treatments for diabetes are urgently needed.
Enter CRISPR gene-editing.
The advent of CRISPR gene-editing technology has allowed researchers to perform unbiased phenotype-oriented genome-scale screens in higher organisms, but it has not yet been widely applied to diabetes research.
Today, the Cai Lab is using CRISPR gene-editing technology to screen for type 1 diabetes, which is a first among living organisms in diabetes-related research. This research shows that the genome-wide CRISPR screen approach is a powerful tool that could open new avenues to the research of diabetes therapy.
Whether CRISPR or other technology, the Cai Lab is dedicated to better understanding the molecular mechanisms that protect beta cells against autoimmune destruction and cellular stress-induced apoptosis, as well as identifying the genetic risk factors for type 1 diabetes that will lead to prevention.