EFSD/Novo Nordisk Research Grant for Erik Toonen

Toonen, Eric

Dr. Erik Toonen (department of General Internal Medicine) has received a prestigious research grant (€ 100.000) from the European Foundation for the Study of Diabetes. He will use this grant to further investigate the role of inflammatory proteins in the onset and prolongation of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D).

The incidence of obesity worldwide has increased drastically during recent decades and has become one of the major public health challenges of the near future. Obesity is associated with an array of pathologies of which insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are the most prominent. Inflammation has a key role in the pathogenesis of obesity and T2D, and important effects have been attributed to the pro-inflammatory mediators TNFα, IL1β and IL18. Recently, dr. Toonen has discovered that neutrophil serine proteases (NSPs), a class of proteins known to be capable of activating TNFα, IL1β and IL18, are highly deregulated in several mice models investigating the induction of insulin resistance and obesity.

With the EFSD/Novo Nordisk Research Grant, dr. Toonen will examine the capability of NSPs to induce obesity and T2D, by using several knock-out mice models.  Identification of new mechanisms for  the induction of obesity and T2D will increase our understanding of the disease and hopefully lead to specific molecular targets with high therapeutic value.


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