What roles do gut microbes and viruses play in triggering the autoimmunity of Type 1 diabetes? The G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Foundation would like to know, and hence has awarded $300,000 to a researcher inquiring into these questions: Boston College Assistant Professor Emrah Altindis.
Altindis recently discovered viral insulins and bacterial insulin epitope mimics. Altindis’ lab is looking for evidence that Type 1 diabetes is caused by a molecular mimicry mechanism, where exposure to microbial insulin or insulin epitope mimic elicits an autoimmune response which attacks both the microbial insulin and our normal insulin and causes Type 1 diabetes.
Altindis recently reported that this grant would support his primary research initiative centering on the role of microbial mimics of human hormones in human disease and health.