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TCUS Student Research Fellowship Program Supports NYMC Student’s Research on Diabetes

Mohammad Yasir Khan, a Master of Science (M.S.) student in pharmacology, had the opportunity to spend the last few months working in the lab of Jerry L. Nadler, M.D., SOM dean and professor of pharmacology and of medicine

January 11, 2022
Jerry Nadler, M.D., with Mohammad Yasir Khan and Melinee D’Silva, M.S.
Jerry Nadler, M.D., with Mohammad Yasir Khan and Melinee D’Silva, M.S.

“I was first exposed to scientific research while still in high school when I had the great opportunity to work under Dana Mordue, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology, in her lab at NYMC,” says Mr. Khan. “From that experience I knew I wanted to go into research. Dr. Nadler’s research really piqued my interest because it was a new opportunity and new area of study I haven’t really focused on. It’s been a great honor to be afforded the opportunity to work in Dr. Nadler’s lab.”

“One of the true joys I have always had is mentoring students and junior faculty to help them become excited about research,” said Dr. Nadler. “It was a pleasure to have Mr. Khan in the lab to work with me and my lab manager Melinee D’Silva, M.S.”

During Mr. Khan’s time there, Dr. Nadler’s lab has been focused on the enzyme 12-lipoxygenage (12-LOX) which catalyzes its substrates to form inflammatory mediators. Dr. Nadler’s research has shown that this enzyme and its metabolites may be a contributor to beta cell loss in the pancreas and subsequently the development of diabetes. “Given the prevalence of diabetes, studying the therapeutic potentials is extremely important,” said Mr. Khan. “The research I conducted with the fellowship grant awarded to me by TCUS focused on the pericyte, which is a type of cell in the pancreas that is responsible for regulating blood flow in and out of the beta cells (that release insulin).”

Previous studies have shown that pericytes decrease substantially in diabetic patients and decrease further as diabetic individuals get older. Mr. Khan explored whether 12-LOX was a responsible factor for the pericyte loss in diabetic patients.

“Through the use of immunofluorescence staining and the laser confocal microscope at NYMC imaging core, we did find some overlap between 12-LOX and pericytes in human pancreatic tissue samples of decedents,” said Mr. Khan. “The data suggests that 12-LOX contributes to both beta cell loss and additionally pericyte loss. The significance of this data provides us with further understanding of the pathology of diabetes.”

“When I was notified that my grant application was chosen, I was ecstatic. This has been such a great experience for my future endeavors in research and was made possible by Dr. Nadler allowing me to work with him and his lab providing the resources to facilitate this research. Dr. Nadler is a great mentor, and I am learning so much from him. I look forward to learning more with his guidance.”