Gene alterations and diabetes risk

Adrian Vella, M.D., is researching the effects of the TCF7L2 gene on type 2 diabetes. Some studies have indicated that certain genetic changes within the TCF7L2 gene cause slight differences in risk of diabetes. He has requested samples from 1,000 Biobank participants without a history of diabetes to determine whether they have higher risk or lower risk factors for diabetes.

Those with particular genetic variations may then be offered an opportunity to participate in further research studies with Dr. Vella's group to help determine the role the TCF7L2 gene has in development of diabetes and potentially help target therapies for diabetes in the future.

Effects of dietary supplementation on hepatic insulin action and glucose tolerance in prediabetes

Rita Basu, M.D., is researching the effects of dietary supplementation on liver fat content and glucose metabolism in people with prediabetes. Seventy million people have either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. People with prediabetes have an up to 50 percent chance of developing diabetes within five to 10 years.

Dr. Basu is recruiting Biobank participants with a history of impaired fasting glucose or hemoglobin A1C levels within the prediabetic range for a 12-week feeding study. In this study, subjects will be assigned to one of three diets — a diet high in monounsaturated fat, a diet high in fiber or a standard diet.

Dr. Basu's research group wants to determine whether dietary changes reduce liver fat, improve liver insulin action and help prevent progression to type 2 diabetes. The group also plans to quantify liver fat using liver scan software that will provide further insights into the type and kind of liver fat. This study will provide important preliminary data for lifestyle interventions in people with prediabetes.