Elin Nyman

Elin's PhD was centered around insulin signalling in human adipocytes and her PhD defence took place 2014. Following is a summary of her work.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by raised blood glucose levels caused by an insufficient insulin control of glucose homeostasis. This lack of control is expressed both through insufficient release of insulin by the pancreatic beta-cells, and through insulin resistance in the insulin-responding tissues. We find insulin resistance of the adipose tissue particularly interesting since it appears to influence other insulin-responding tissues, such as muscle and liver, to also become insulin resistant.

The insulin signaling network is highly complex with cross-interacting intermediaries, positive and negative feedbacks, etc. To facilitate the mechanistic understanding of this network, we obtain dynamic, information-rich data and use model-based analysis as a tool to formally test different hypotheses that arise from the experimental observations. With dynamic mathematical models, we are able to combine knowledge and experimental data into mechanistic hypotheses, and draw conclusions such as rejection of hypotheses and prediction of outcomes of new experiments.

We aim for an increased understanding of adipocyte insulin signaling and the underlying mechanisms of the insulin resistance that we observe in adipocytes from subjects diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. We also aim for a complete picture of the insulin signaling network in primary human adipocytes from normal and diabetic subjects with a link to relevant clinical parameters: plasma glucose and insulin. Such a complete picture of insulin signaling has not been presented before. Not for adipocytes and not for other types of cells.

Read Elin's thesis here.