Mathematical Biology Seminar

Richard Bertram,
Florida State University
Tuesday March 10, 2009
3:05pm in LCB 215
Using Mathematical Modeling and Experiments to Understand the Mechanism of Pulsatile Insulin Secretion

Abstract: Insulin is a hormone that is essential for the body's ability to metabolize glucose. Improper glucose homeostasis leads to diabetes, which is one of the leading medical problems in America. Insulin is secreted by micro-organs called islets of Langerhans, which are distributed throughout the pancreas. As is true for many hormones, the secretion of insulin is pulsatile, and studies have shown a correlation between lack of insulin pulsatility and type 2 or late onset diabetes. I will describe work done by my group and collaborators that aims at understanding the mechanism behind pulsatile insulin secretion from an islet, as well as the mechanism behind the synchronization of islet oscillatory behavior across the population of unconnected islets. This work involves mathematical modeling and analysis in combination with experimental studies.