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SCISOC TALK: ATP-sensitive potassium channels and neonatal diabetes – from molecule to new therapy and beyond.

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Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft’s discovery that blood glucose levels are coupled to insulin levels via the activity of ATP -sensitive Potassium channels was a huge breakthrough in our understanding of diabetes and its treatment. Professor Ashcroft will discuss how the KATP channel regulates insulin secretion and how understanding their function has enabled many patients born with neonatal diabetes to switch from insulin injections to drug therapy, with considerable improvement in both their clinical condition and quality of life. She will also discuss why some KATP channel mutations cause neurological disorders.

The speaker: Professor Dame Frances Ashcroft is Professor of Physiology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal Society of London. Her research focuses on how changes in blood glucose levels regulate insulin secretion from the pancreatic beta-cells and how this process is impaired in diabetes. Delete – already said in blurb [She discovered that the ATP -sensitive potassium (KATP) channel serves as the molecular link between glucose elevation and insulin secretion. Mutations in KATP channel genes cause a rare inherited form of diabetes (neonatal diabetes), and her work has enabled patients with this disorder to switch from insulin injections to drug therapy.] Frances has also written two popular science books: Life at the Extremes – the science of survival (HarperCollins, 2000) and The Spark of Life – electricity in the human body, (Penguin 2012). She has won several awards for her research and the Lewis Thomas Prize for Science Writing.

This talk is part of the SciSoc – Cambridge University Scientific Society series.

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