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Applied Math and Statistics Colloquium: Diabetes Pathogenesis as a Threshold-Crossing Process
October 20, 2017 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Speaker: Dr. Arthur Sherman, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health
Host Room: Chauvenet Hall 143
It has long been accepted that type 1 diabetes results from a lack of insulin, as the insulin-secreting pancreatic beta cells are destroyed by an autoimmune process. In contrast, the cause of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is less clear. Most people with pre-diabetes or in the early stages of T2D have abnormally high plasma insulin concentrations, and insulin rises before glucose does. We show that these difficulties are resolved by a mathematical model in which the onset of T2D is represented by the crossing of a threshold. The threshold differs, however, from the classical threshold of models like Fitzhugh-Nagumo in that it involves a slow variable rather than a fast variable. This has important physiological implications.
Dr. Sherman was trained as an applied mathematician with interests in scientific computing and mathematical biology at New York University. In 1986, he joined the Mathematical Research Branch (MRB), NIDDK, as a post-doctoral fellow, and was tenured in 1996. His work centered on modeling the calcium and electrical activity that underlie pulsatile insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells. Since 2005 he has been the chief of the Laboratory of Biological Modeling (LBM) at the NIH. Recently Dr. Sherman’s work on the normal functioning of beta cells has turned toward modeling the role of beta-cell failure combined with insulin resistance in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes.