Welcome to the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Group

The Diabetes and Metabolism Research Group represents an interdisciplinary team performing cutting-edge translational research to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders. We apply a combination of high-end molecular and cellular biology tools and non-invasive and microscopical imaging and spectroscopy with state-of-the-art metabolic phenotyping in a predominantly experimental human research setting. Thus, we map targets for intervention and prevention of type 2 diabetes development. A custom-raised biobank of myotubes and adipocytes cultured from well phenotyped human donors serves as a rapid screening platform for relevance of the targets identified and their responsiveness to interventions.

While skeletal muscle insulin resistance is the hallmark for type 2 diabetes pathogenesis, compromised liver function is at the bases of elevated blood sugar levels. As a resultant cardiac function drops and cardiovascular risk increases. Modulation of energy expenditure and post-prandial blood lipids by brown adipose tissue can be conceptually linked to the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Thus, skeletal muscle, the liver, the heart and brown adipose tissue, as well as their interorgan relationship are of prime interest to the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Group. Within these organs, mitochondria and lipid droplets are cellular organelles pivotal to proper organ function. These organelles are hence targets for intervention. Diet, drug and exercise interventions are typically employed to modulate energy balance and substrate handling.

The Diabetes and Metabolism Research Group comprises some 15 scientists, is based at the NUTRIM research institute within the Faculty of Health Medicine & Life Sciences, Maastricht University, the Netherlands. The group started as a joint initiative of Dr. Patrick Schrauwen and Dr. Matthijs Hesselink.