Indiana Biosciences Research Institute Scientist Receives $750,000 Diabetes Research Grant

September 07, 2016

A researcher with the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) today received a 2016 Career Development Award from JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Teresa Mastracci, PhD, is a Senior Scientist at the IBRI.

“This award is confirmation of the impressive research Teresa is doing in the area of beta cell biology and type 1 diabetes,” said Dr. Raghu Mirmira, Interim Chief Scientific Officer and Core Laboratories Director for the IBRI. “We look forward to seeing her translate her research in ways that will ultimately help children and adults afflicted with type 1 diabetes.”

Mastracci will use the $750,000 award to continue her work in the area of beta cell regeneration. Her study will look at how polyamine and hypusine biosynthesis can be harnessed to reverse the progression of type 1 diabetes. Mastracci’s goal is to identify new drugs that preserve or regenerate healthy beta cells, which will help to slow or even halt the progression of type 1 diabetes.  Beta cells are the only cell type in the body that produces insulin, a hormone that is lacking in people with type 1 diabetes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, type 1 diabetes currently affects nearly 1 in 11 Americans. The World Health Organization estimates that worldwide 422 million adults have diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes referred to as “juvenile onset” because it is diagnosed in early childhood and requires lifelong insulin therapy. 

The JDRF Career Development Award is designed to assist exceptionally promising researchers early in their careers. Past recipients of the award include Maike Sander, Director of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center at the University of California San Diego; Mehboob Ali Hussain, Director of the Diabetes Center at Johns Hopkins University; and Matthias Hebrok, Director of the Diabetes Center at the University of California San Francisco. JDRF previously funded Mastracci’s research in 2010 with a prestigious JDRF Postdoctoral Fellowship.

“I am grateful to JDRF for this honor and for their continued confidence in my research,” said Mastracci. “This award provides my lab with the support we need to continue our discovery work to identify new tests and potential treatments that will directly impact people with type 1 diabetes.”

In addition to working for the IBRI, Mastracci is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine.